Wednesday, 25 January 2017
Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; Philippians 2:29
There is a hint of near concern here in Paul’s words. He is sending Epaphroditus back after a great sickness that almost led to death. Using this as an opportunity to obtain favor for him, he says, “Receive him therefore in the Lord.” The “therefore” is what gives us a hint that he may not have been received back as he should have been otherwise.
What may be the case, but which is left unstated, is that the divisions in the church could have had some agreeing with the sending of Epaphroditus, while others not having agreed to it. Solely as a means of example, we could guess that he was too young in the faith for some to think sending him was a good idea. However, now that Paul has spoken so highly of him, and with his service almost ending in death, he is asking for him to be received with honor. Whatever the true reason for his words, he is asking that his return to them be “with all gladness.”
If there were divisions about him, they should be dropped. He has faithfully served, and he has been willing to expend himself in the service he was called to. Nothing was lacking in his performance and, therefore, he should be welcomed home heartily. Further, Paul notes that the church is to “hold such men in esteem.”
In the Bible, we are to give honor where honor is due. In the case of Epaphroditus, it was certainly due. He was to be given the honor of a true and faithful soul who has carried out his duties in a way which was worthy of note.
Life application: Whatever task we have been assigned, or to which we volunteer, we should do it as unto the Lord, not expecting anything from our work except the honor of pleasing Him. However, we are to honor those who perform their duties well, remembering that they need encouragement as all people do. In honoring others, they will hopefully be willing to honor our notable deeds as well.
Lord God, help us to have servants’ hearts, not expecting anything from our labors except the joy of having faithfully served you. And yet, help us to be willing to recognize the faithful performance of others as they do their work. Let us be others-centered in all things, not seeking for our own praise. May our every moment be one willing to expend ourselves for You. Amen.