Reorienting our Focus Pt. 2

Reorienting our Priorities Pt. 2

Phil. 2:25-30

“Because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.”

 

            What we value is revealed by what we are willing to sacrifice to attain.  For Epaphroditus, the value he placed upon his service for Christ was demonstrated by his willingness to risk his life for the advancement of the gospel.

            We know little about Epaphroditus.  He is only mentioned in this letter (2:25; 4:18).  His name suggests that he was a Greek raised in a pagan culture and home.  His name comes from the Greek goddesses of love and beauty, suggesting that his parents were worshippers of this deity. We also know that Epaphroditus was associated with the church at Philippi and that he had been sent by the church with a financial gift to help Paul in his ministry.  When he arrived in Rome, Epaphroditus intended to remain with Paul and help in the ministry.  However, while he was with Paul, he became extremely sick to the point that he was on the verge of death.  While we do not know the nature of the illness or the cause of the infirmity, Paul does attribute it to his involvement in the ministry.  For Paul, there was a direct link between the ministry of Epaphroditus and his illness.  Thus, he reflected the same attitude that characterized Christ (2:5).  Just as Christ was willing to die for the salvation of others, Epaphroditus was willing to die to fulfill his mission of ministering to Paul.  So close was Epaphroditus to death that his recovery was nothing short of miraculous (vs. 27).  

            Just as we saw with Timothy, so we also see with Epaphroditus.  In verse 30, Paul gives us insight into the attitude and priority exemplified by Epaphroditus.  Epaphroditus was willing to risk his life to fulfill the work of Christ that he had been assigned to perform.  

Ministry and serving Christ is easy when there is little cost.  We are willing to be involved in the church as long as it does not disrupt our lives or cost us little in time, money, and effort.  However, when it becomes difficult, intrudes into our lives, and interrupts our plans and priorities, we quickly resign.  

            Our calling to live for Christ and to serve Him is to be the highest priority of life.  Everything else becomes secondary, even life itself.  Christ points out the priority of serving Him in Matthew 6:31-34.  He reminds us that we must first seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness above the necessities of life (i.e., food, clothing, and shelter).  To seek His Kingdom involves being a part of His Kingdom through our salvation; it also involves seeking to advance and build His Kingdom through our service. Our service for Christ is to take precedence over our service to the things of this world (Matthew 6:24-25). Ephaprhoditus serves as an example that reorienting our priorities means we place our service for Christ as our highest priority, even to the point that we are willing to sacrifice everything for Him.  It means we allow Christ to set the direction for our life and to determine our priorities.  

            Take a moment today and examine your priorities.  Are you serving Christ in the place that God has placed you?  Is your priority in life to pursue your career, plans, and financial stability, or is it to serve Christ?  Are you seeking to serve him in the career that God has placed you?  Are you striving to exercise your spiritual gift in the community of believers you are part of?  Are you placing Christ as your highest priority or an addendum to your plans? 

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