What makes a perfect pastor? Churches searching for a pastor today will often develop a profile of the kind of person they are hoping to find. They might want someone with an advanced theology degree, a powerful style of preaching, or a history of successful church growth.
In today’s text, Paul lists the qualifications of those he considered colleagues in ministry, but his list looks a little different. He focused more on character than credentials. First, he mentions Timothy, whom Paul hoped to send to the Philippians to find out how they were doing. The two traits that marked Timothy were his concern for people and his consistency. “I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare,” Paul observes (v. 20). Timothy was a good choice because he was also familiar to the Philippians. He had a proven track record in ministry (v. 21).
Paul’s other representative, Epaphroditus, was also known to the Philippians because they had initially sent him to Paul with a gift to provide for Paul’s needs (v. 25). Paul uses three descriptive titles to express how much Epaphroditus, a member of the Philippian church, meant to him. The apostle calls him a brother, a fellow worker, and a soldier. Epaphroditus nearly became a casualty in the battle when he grew ill and almost died. But instead of being concerned for himself, he worried about how the Philippians would take the news (v. 26). Paul was concerned about Epaphroditus too and saw his eventual recovery as an instance of God’s mercy to them all (v. 27). Paul urged the Philippians to “honor” people like Epaphroditus. We should not take those who help us grow in our faith lightly.
>> Serving the church can be costly. Who has God brought into your life to help you in your faith? Can you think of a way to express your appreciation of this person? Take time to send them a text, email message, card, or even a personal letter.
We thank You, Lord, for the people in our lives who have helped our faith. May You bless them, sustain them, and build them up, granting them abundant fruit for their labor.