Examples of Servanthood - Philippians 2:19-30

Examples of Servanthood

What kind of example are we setting in our walk with Christ?

Are we as compassionate as Timothy and desire to place the interests and well-being of the body above our own?

Are we balanced within our walk like Epaphroditus?


Philippians 2:19-30

19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.  21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.

25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me
Paul gives us two examples of servants of Christ. The first is Timothy, Paul's protégé. Paul desires to send Timothy, but Paul sends Epaphroditus. Paul points out that Timothy essentially emulates Christ through his compassion and desire for the welfare of the church. Can we say the same for ourselves? Do we have the desire for the welfare of our church and for our brothers and sisters in Christ? Timothy was humble and did not look out for his own interests, but he put the interests and welfare of the Philippian church above his own. Paul says that there was no one like-minded as Timothy was to himself. That is a big compliment, but Timothy didn’t start out like this. Timothy was groomed and worked hard, developing spiritual maturity while serving the Lord. It was through the continual application and walking according to Christ that Timothy's character was proven. Again, can we say the same for ourselves and our character? Is our character proven through the continual application of Christ in our lives?

All of us may not be like Timothy, even though it is a good goal to have, so Paul gives another example of a servant, Epaphroditus. Paul describes him as a “well-rounded” believer. Epaphroditus was from Philippi and had the desire to return. He is the one who brought the missionary offering to Paul in Rome, risking his health while doing it. Paul calls Epaphroditus his ‘brother,’ ‘fellow worker,’ ‘fellow soldier,’ and ‘messenger.’ Epaphroditus was Paul’s brother within the fellowship of Christ. He was a fellow worker who strived to further the gospel of Christ, working within ministry. He was a soldier standing firm in the faith with one mind striving for the gospel (Phil 1:27). This man's desire was for others. He cared deeply for his home church in Philippi, but he understood his calling. He served even to the point of becoming so ill he almost died. Epaphroditus has a complete grasp on the meaning of sacrifice and service in the name of Christ. Paul was so blessed by this man's service and sacrifice that Paul requested that the church recognize him. However, Epaphroditus want serving for any reward or recognition, he was serving because is his desire to further the ministry of Christ. He was faithful to his calling in Christ.

Therefore, what kind of Christian are we currently? Are we the Phil 2:21 Christian, “For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus”? Or are we the Phil 1:21 Christian, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain”? To be a servant of Christ, we can use the examples of both Timothy and Epaphroditus. We must have compassion and desire for the welfare of the church and for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must be humble and not look out for our own interests, but put the interests and welfare of others above our own. We must be continually applying and walking according to Christ and becoming a ‘balanced’ Christian with the full understanding of what service and sacrifice in Christ means.

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