Philippians 2:25 (NLT) But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.
Here in the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul is planning on sending Epaphroditus back to the Philippian church. Why? Because this guy knows how to get along with other people.
Paul uses three metaphors to describe the kind of person he is. Paul says: “my brother,” “co-worker” and “fellow soldier.” This says just as much about the Christian life as it does Epaphroditus – Church life is a:
- “Family” – we are brothers and sisters, we belong to the family of God
- “Fellowship” – we are co-workers with a common mission and purpose
- “Fight” – we are fellow soldiers in God’s army and battle against a common enemy
Every believer needs to embrace every one of these metaphors and not back away from any. Don’t be the loner Christian who hides from other Christians and tries to live this life all by themselves – you will fail and become miserable along the way. Recognize that we also have a mission, a common purpose. We don’t just attend church to get our needs met; we attend church because we have a common mission to fulfill and we all need to serve, share and sacrifice towards that mission. We are also in a fight against a spiritual enemy. It’s not a casual stroll in the park. Life will have its battles, its wins, and setbacks.
And Epaphroditus embodies these three descriptions of a believer. They caused him to work well with other people.
There are a couple of things we need to learn to work well with others:
1. Learn to cooperate with others
This quality is not only necessary for church life; it is compulsory when it comes to your career. We cannot achieve career goals alone, we need the help of mentors, peers, and teams.
Jesus said: “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.” Matthew 5:9 (MSG)
2. Learn to be considerate of others
Paul was sending Epaphroditus because he was good at caring for the needs of others – he was considerate of other people. He was thoughtful, kind, caring and showed empathy towards others.
Look how Paul says this to the church at Corinth:
“You must get along with each other! You must learn to be considerate of one another.” 1 Corinthians 1:10 (MSG)
These two qualities, cooperating with others and being considerate, need to be learned. If you do, you will become very good at working with other people.