Worthy of Honor
Read Philippians 2:28-30 (ESV)
I am more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
How can you honor and support the men and women who sacrificially serve in your church community?
Do you have a role model? Is there someone you really admire? If so, what is it about them that makes you want to be like that? Some of us look up to really gifted people. We might wish we had their athletic ability or their musical talents. Others look up to those who have a lot of money, college degrees, or worldly success.
But in today’s verses, Paul says that we should admire people like Epaphroditus. Last week, we read that Paul was sending Epaphroditus back to the Philippian church because he knew they were very concerned about him. Epaphroditus was initially sent by the Philippian church to deliver their financial offering for Paul’s ministry and to offer Paul his service. But he became deathly ill in the process. Despite his near miss with death, Epaphroditus was determined to fulfill his mission and offer everything in service to the Lord. Even if it cost him his life.
Paul told the Philippians to joyfully accept Epaphroditus back into their community. He knew they’d be relieved to see him and Paul would be relieved that they were no longer worried about him.
But Paul also said to “honor such men.” The NASB says to “hold men like him in high regard.” Why? Not because of his talents, money or success. Not because he is popular or has a ton of followers on social media. The people Paul says to honor and respect are those who are willing to sacrifice doing the work of Jesus Christ. People like Epaphroditus.
Ask yourself: Do you really want to be like Epaphroditus? Are you willing to risk life and limb for Jesus? What if it wasn’t your life on the line but your job? What if you got sued or thrown into prison? Are you willing to be made fun of or mocked for your faith? Would you compromise in order to fit in with friends and family?
Friends, the truth is this: worldly honor and glory are temporary. But those that work for the Lord will be eternally rewarded. So who do you really look up to? Who do you try to emulate? Is there someone in your community of believers whose sacrificial service has made an impact on your life? How can you demonstrate how much you admire and respect them? I encourage you to find a way to honor the men and women in your circle who joyfully and sacrificially offer their lives in service to the Lord.
Lord, I want to be like Epaphroditus—willing to live and die for You no matter the cost. Thank You for the role models You have placed in my life who show me what it looks like to sacrifice for You today. Amen.