I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy's[a] proven worth, how as a son[b] with a father he has served with me in the gospel. 23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.
25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 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. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died[c] for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
The examples of Jesus (vv. 1–11) and Paul (vv. 2:16–17) are not the only motivation for the Philippians to live in other-centered, joyful humility. Paul now holds up two other servants already known to the Philippians as Christlike models of servant-humility: Timothy (vv. 19–24), who is genuinely concerned for their welfare; and Epaphroditus (vv. 25–30), who nearly died twice in his service for the Lord.
Timothy emulates Christ’s model of not merely looking to his own interests (v. 4), as he is “genuinely concerned” for the “welfare” of the Philippians (v. 20). All others seek only their own interests (v. 21). Timothy, Paul’s partner in the gospel, is like a son to Paul, and Paul intends to send Timothy to visit the Philippians, assuming that he will return to Paul with good news about them (v. 19).
Similarly, Epaphroditus (vv. 25–30), another partner in the gospel, exemplifies Christlike, other-centered gospel service, and so Paul had already sent him to Philippi. Paul’s sense of gospel unity and partnership with Epaphroditus is so strong that he speaks of him as a “brother,” “fellow worker,” “fellow soldier,” “messenger,” and “minister”—all in just one verse (v. 25). Paul’s affection for Epaphroditus was so potent that his death would have caused “sorrow upon sorrow” (v. 27).
Christians need biblical teaching on godly self-sacrifice, but we also need models of those who have placed their faith and hope in Christ. He is the primary model of humble service. But let us also look around ourselves today for men and women who, like Timothy and Epaphroditus, set an example of humble, sacrificial service because they are living in gratitude for God’s grace. People like Timothy and Epaphroditus should be honored (v. 29), commended, and unleashed for ministry (vv. 19, 25, 28) even as we rejoice in God for their lives. Living for Christ is not easy. It requires humility, service, and dependence on God’s grace. A redemptive perspective on others that views them as examples not in place of Jesus but for the sake of Jesus encourages us in this grace.
*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.