Philippians 2:19-30 Devotional Sharing

Submitted by Pastor Jonathan Lee, Gracepoint Davis

What kind of man would risk his life for the work of Christ?  Why is it appropriate to honor such a person? Who are the people in my life I ought to honor for their labor for the Lord?

The kind of person who would risk his/her life for the work of Christ is someone who:  1) Is not afraid of death itself (Rom. 14:8 “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”); 2) Has already died to his/her own individual life (Col. 3:3 “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”); 3) Is now living that life for Christ (Gal. 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”).

As this passage tells us, Epaphroditus was sent to take care of Paul’s needs as he was engaged in the gospel work.  Epaphroditus’ journey and ministry was certainly not for his own benefit.  His plans and schedules were surrendered and radically changed because of the needs of Kingdom work.  His life was all about how to further the work and ministry of Christ.  Indeed, his life is an example of Ephesians 5:1-2 that we recently went over, as he was a clear imitator of God, living a life of love, just as Christ loved us.

It is entirely appropriate to honor such a person since it is not that necessarily that individual who is honored, but rather, Christ is ultimately honored as people take notice of Jesus Christ who is reigning as Lord over that person.  That kind of life honors the life of Christ by giving faithful testimony to Him.  Other passages calling for such honor include: 1 Cor. 16:18 “For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition” and 1 Tim. 5:17 “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.”

There are many people in my life I ought to honor for their labor for the Lord.  There is Pastor Ed and Kelly Kang who spoke God’s truth to my wayward life from back in 1988 all the way to this present moment.  They endured through the many difficulties for the work of Christ, and is daily “in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed” in me (and hundreds of others who are directly impacted through Gracepoint Ministries).  There are many others who are co-laboring for the Lord such as my friends Tony and Michelle who have been pouring their lives to touch many children with the love of Christ, planting seeds of the Gospel; and I’m still so grateful for their personal financial sacrifice for our family when we first moved to Davis.  There are the church plant leads (and team members) who packed up, moved, and are now on a very different campus sharing the same vision to see an Acts 2 church in that college town.  And I can’t forget my wife Susanna who continues to challenge me with her selfless and diligent labor in the Lord.  Further beyond, there are many “cloud of witnesses” like Chuck Colson who even though is nearly double my age, is still going strong in transforming this world with a Biblical worldview.  And there are dear missionaries half way around the world who are risking their lives so that they might bring a smile to a face that had only known sorrow.

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Submitted by Jay Park, Gracepoint Davis

What kind of man would risk his life for the work of Christ?  Why is it appropriate to honor such a person? Who are the people in my life I ought to honor for their labor for the Lord?
 
Many people risk their lives for people or things they love.  For example, many Americans join the military and risk their lives on the battlefield because they love their nation and the freedom they enjoy, and we honor such men and women.  Some risk their lives climbing Mt. Everest or going rock climbing or skydiving because they love the challenge and the exhilarating sensation from the thrills.  So, the kind of person who would risk his life for the work of Christ would be someone who is in love with Jesus.  Paul says that we should honor men like Epaphroditus, who almost died for the work of Christ.  We normally honor those who give up their lives for the sake of others.  Epaphroditus was so others-centered that he was worried that people would find out about his sickness and worry about him.  He didn’t want to put burden on people, probably not because he was too proud to receive help but because he didn’t want to put emotional burden on them so they can worry about others they are ministering to rather than his own needs.  That’s others-centeredness at another level. Unfortunately, today, there are many who honor those who are just good in sports, popular, rich, or famous.  I remember the day when Mother Theresa and Princess Diana passed away on the same day. There was a very little media coverage on Mother Theresa but so much on Diana for days just because she was a lot more attractive and popular.  However, all genuine Christians, I’m sure, would know who is more worthy of honor.  Epaphroditus should be honored because he served hard for the King of kings, who deserves the greatest honor, respect, love and devotion.  He lived to help fulfill God’s plan of salvation through his service.  There are thankfully many around me who also serve hard the King of kings/the King of Love and many who selflessly love others to help fulfill God’s salvation plan.   I think about Pastor Ed and Kelly who lead retreat after retreat, messages and prayer meetings week in and week out.  I see Pastor Jonathan and Susanna who are so busy everyday engaged in ministry in similar fashion and living an optionless life.  There are so many directors and friends and fellow brothers and sisters who lose sleep over people’s sins, preparing for events and messages, and just trying to love people, including people like me.  I need to honor people like them.  I still lack this kind of a discipline to honor the precious people in my life at the appropriate times and thus miss many opportunities to show my appreciation for them and to encourage them, because I take it for granted that it’s really rare to see people whose lives are wholly given to God.  I really commit to making an effort to encourage those around me who work hard for the Lord and honor them appropriately.

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4 Responses to “Philippians 2:19-30 Devotional Sharing”

  1. Will says:

    thx for the sharing!

  2. Shufei Lei says:

    Thanks for sharing your reflections and insights.

  3. jin kim says:

    was blessed reading this

  4. dannyorozco says:

    Thanks Pastor Jonathan! Amazing to hear what God has been doing at Gracepoint Davis all these years! Really excited to hear and see what He will do this year.

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