Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace my great brothers and sisters or our “Great God”… JESUS
While experiencing two powerful corporate prayer services during the week at our church MountainTop, I began to ponder on the thought of just how blessed I am to be chose from the billions throughout the ages to be given a chance to serve such an awesome God and the brethren. In my studies of the epistle written to the saints in Philippi I began to focus on the work of a very humble servant of Jesus Christ by the name of Epaphroditus.
I found this man’s persona to be very encouraging to me. We are not told very much about him, but in what we are told, we see a great deal of what is truly lovely and pleasant, to the extent it makes us long for such men and women of the same character in this dispensation. Those individuals that will fill the void as deemed necessary. Hence, for this Golden Nugget I would like to expound upon the thought … “Will You Strive to Be the Missing Link to Fill a Gap?” To provoke further gospel provocation, the following scriptures will be used to establish my premise:
Phil 2:25-30 “I supposed it necessary,” says the Apostle Paul, “to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and companion in labor, and fellow-soldier, but your messenger and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation, because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me”.
Now it is quite possible that some of us, while reading this, may feel disposed to inquire if Epaphroditus was a great evangelist or teacher or some highly gifted servant of Christ, seeing that the inspired Apostle Paul bestows upon him so many high and honorable accolades, such as his “brother, companion in labor, and fellow soldier.”
Notice my brothers and sisters, we are not told that he was a great preacher or a great traveling evangelist or a profound teacher in the Church of God. All we are told about him in the above touching narrative is that he came forward to fulfill a real need and to supply “a missing link to fill a gap” as I would like to say. These beloved Philippians had it upon their heart to send help to the revered and aged apostle Paul in his prison at Rome. He was in need and they longed to supply his need. They loved him, and God had laid it upon their loving hearts to make sure his necessities were met! They perpetually thought of him, and even though he was very far away from them, they longed to minister to him of their own substance.
How lovely this was! and how pleasing it was to the heart of Christ! As we read in Phil 4:10, 14-18 “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity…. Notwithstanding, ye have well done that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now, ye Philippians, know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound; I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God”.
It’s here we see the place in which Epaphroditus fulfills his divine call. The apostle Paul is in prison at Rome, and we see how the saints at Philippi are rendering up offerings to him. But how was it to be conveyed to him? There were no bank checks, post-office money orders, PayPal, Givelify, EFT, railway or airplane traveling. There was not a easy way to get from Philippi to Rome in those days. But Epaphroditus, that dear, unpretentious, self-surrendering servant of Christ, presented himself to supply the missing link, to do the very thing that was needed and nothing more; to be the channel of communication between the assembly at Philippi and the apostle at Rome. For the Apostle Paul needs were deep and real, and the Philippians gifts were precious and seasonable, yet an instrument was needed to bring them both together; Hence Epaphroditus offered himself for the work. There was a need and he filled it. He did not aim at doing some great showy thing, something which would make him very prominent and cause his name to be blazed abroad as some wonderful person. Aw! No, Epaphroditus was not one identified as one of those pushing, self aggrandizing individuals. He was a dear, behind the scenes, lowly servant of Christ. A workman to whom we should be irresistibly attracted too. Nothing is more charming than an unpretentious, godly man or woman who is content just to fill those empty niches; to render the needed service, whatever it is; to do the work cut out for him by the Master’s hand.
There are some who are not content unless they are at the head and tail of everything. They seem to think that no work can be rightly done unless they have a hand in it. They are not satisfied to supply a missing link. How repulsive are brothers and sisters of this sort! Hence, it is imperative that we perpetually do what is deemed necessary to separate ourselves from those who possess this character! I reiterate, those who are Condescending , Self aggrandizing, ever pushing themselves into prominence to be the Headliner instead of pushing the REAL Headliner….JESUS CHRIST! These individuals have never measured themselves in the presence of God, nor have they been taken to their true place of self-abasement. GOLDEN NUGGET!
My brothers and sisters it is obvious that Epaphroditus was not a part of such people who possessed this idiom at all. He put his life in the hand of God to serve other people; and when at death’s door, instead of being occupied with himself or his ailments, he was thinking of others. “He longed after you all and was full of heaviness” — not because he was sick, but —”because ye had heard that he had been sick.” Here was true love. He knew what his beloved brethren at Philippi would be feeling when informed of his serious illness, an illness brought on by his willing-hearted service to them.
Saints it is so encouraging to know that even today we have children of God in these last days who have this same mindset….Glory! It does my heart good to know that the Lord still has men and women today that possess these great attributes and standard, WHO truly have an impact in the Kingdom of God!
It is obvious through Epaphroditus manifested works that he had studied in the school of Christ. He had sat at the Master’s feet and drunk deeply into His spirit. In no other way could he have learned such holy lessons of self surrender and thoughtful love for others. The world does not know of this amazing love (Agape); the natural man cannot teach such lessons. These lessons are only heavenly, spiritual, and divine. I pray that we all strive for more lessons in them! These lessons learned are rare among us, given all of our high profession because of self indulgence.
Notice the sincerity in which Paul commends Epaphroditus to the assembly at Philippi. It seems as if he could not put in words the accolades to bestow upon him. “He longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” WOW! What an expression of divine affection and sympathy of such a self-sacrificing servant of Christ! The whole assembly at Philippi, Paul, and above all God Himself, engaged in thinking about this man who did not think about himself. My brothers and sisters, had Epaphroditus been a self seeker, had he been occupied totally with himself or his own interest, or even his work, his name would have never been written in this holy epistle. But because he thought of others, not of himself; the apostle Paul, and Jesus’ Church thought of him as a positive impactful reference.
I have learned and observed that a man or woman who thinks much of themselves saves others the trouble of thinking about them. But the men and women who are lowly, humble, modest, unpretentious, and selfless, who think of and live for others who walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ; will always be the persons thought of, cared for, loved and honored by God and His people. GOLDEN NUGGET!
Saints notice Paul’s statement again in Phil. 2:28-30 “I sent him therefore the more carefully, that when ye see him again ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation. Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me”
Epaphroditus did not regard his life, but laid it at his Master’s feet, just to supply the missing link to fill a gap between the church of God at Philippi and the suffering and needy apostle Paul at Rome. Therefore, the apostle calls upon the Church to acknowledge this great man of our “GREAT GOD”, and hence the name of Epaphroditus has been handed down to us by the pen of inspiration as dictated by Paul to Epaphroditus, so that his precious service to God be recorded and read by untold billions. Contra wise to those names mentioned whose works prove they were self seekers, self indulgers, and pretentious to every age, which aforementioned conditions has sunk them into eternal oblivion. Always remember my brothers and sisters the humble shall be exalted in due time, especially those who “Will Strive to Be The Missing Link to Fill a Gap” Hence the question to you in my summation is, ARE YOU THE ONE? Have a “JESUS DAY”