I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the 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. ~Philippians 2:25-30
Another faithful coworker to Paul was Epaphroditus. This man was a messenger from Philippi. He would deliver news and correspondences from the church to Paul and then return to the church on behalf of Paul. Likely, he was the one who carried this letter to the church.
Such was not easy business. In days where travel was difficult and grave dangers could be found through the elements, animals, other people, and disease, there were many risks involved in delivering messages. So, Paul said of those who performed what we might mistake as a common or menial task: “Honor such men.”
Those who put their lives on the line for the sake of the gospel were worthy of honor. Paul might have been the apostle writing the letter as the Holy Spirit inspired him, but the letter would have not done much good if no one ever read it. The church needed the message, but it also needed the messenger to deliver it.
So, let us look to those who give freely of themselves for the sake of the gospel. Let’s recognize their importance, even if they’re “just” delivering a letter. And let us receive them and honor them with great joy in the Lord.
New posts from this devotional series in Philippians will run most Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.