Model for Ministry
This passage sheds light on the close companions that Paul had. Without a doubt the closest companions to Paul. Paul’s desire was that the church would live worthy of the gospel - to serve others better than themselves. The example Christ gave was to be their life goal. How were they to live this out? Paul reminded them, that they knew two men who fit just this description.
As a conclusion to Chapter 2, the examples of Timothy and Epaphroditus serve as perfect illustrations of what it means to live like Christ, to perfectly show what he pleaded in vv. 3-4, showed to be true in Christ in vv. 5-11, gave motivation for in vv. 12-18, and now gives these practical applications for how we go about ministry.
The first characteristic in how we ought to model our ministry is by having a Servant’s Heart. Christ first called us to “love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34-35. What does your “care for others” look like? Did you reach out to anyone this week? Spend some time with them? Just encourage them? Within the church, we have an added opportunity to “do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10.
Along with a Servant’s Heart, our model for ministry must consider our Spiritual Health. The church had proved Timothy’s servant’s heart and teaching. When was your last spiritual check-up? Paul reminds us to “Let a man examine himself” 1 Cor 11:28. This teamwork that Paul experienced came from a similar focus on spiritual matters. When we seek the things of God, it becomes clear how much God is truly working in our loves and those around us. A further aspect of this ministry model is Steadfast Help. Paul said of Timothy that, “as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.” One of my greatest joys in my years of ministry has been to step into ‘Timothy’s shoes’ and serve with my dad at Camp Chetek. Serving alongside my dad in the work of the gospel is something I will cherish. God used those years to spread the gospel, and to really shape my heart for God’s people. Paul would continue to encourage Timothy in the faith through his early and ongoing ministry, and near the end of Paul’s life, he declared of Timothy, “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and my sufferings.” 2 Tim 3:10.
Verses 25-30 give us the example of Epaphroditus, a man from the church of Philippi, sent on a short-term missions trip to deliver gifts to Paul and assist in his ministry. During his trip he had become ill, not wanting the church in Philippi to find out and think he was returning early. Paul says that Epaphroditus served with a Soldiers Honor. He showed his love and concern for church, the work of Christ, and embraced his role as a messenger with humility.
Are these characteristics part of your model for ministry? The church needs more people like these two men, will you step up to the task?
Questions to Consider:
- How is your spiritual health?
- When is the last time you made a plan to serve someone?
- How do you think about the people you see every day? Are they merely another distraction in your day, or a soul thirsty for connection. Share Christ!
- Pastor Micah Tanis