“Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need”
The second of five descriptions of Epaphroditus, a selfless servant, is “fellow worker.”
Epaphroditus was a man who was not afraid of work. Someone has said that there are two kinds of workers among Christians: those willing to work and those willing to let them work! “Well, I am going to serve Jesus Christ as soon as my children are grown.” By then, you will have less to contribute and be burdened with entrenched patterns of selfish living. Paul viewed this man as a companion in labor for Jesus Christ. People who serve the Lord together have a special fellowship:
“For we are God’s fellow workers.” (1 Co 3:9)
When God called Paul into ministry, He challenged him with “work”:
“Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2).
Note the sequel:
“From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed” (Acts 14:26).
At the commencement of the second missionary expedition, Paul did not take John Mark to “the work”: “But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work” (Acts 15:38). John Mark did not take the work of Christ seriously. Paul did not bear half-committed team members.
To some Christians, almost anything comes before the work of Christ. But the Bible stresses the importance of work for the Lord: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Co 15:58). There are two qualifications for the work of the Lord: time and dynamic. The time is “always,” and the dynamic is “abounding.”
The work ethic is indeed biblical!
It takes great effort to execute God’s plan for the believer in time. To most Christians, their church or ministry is just a hobby. They do not take it seriously. “If it is convenient, if I have time, I will give a squirt of time and two squirts of money to the Lord’s work.” Clearly, ministry “work” is in God’s plan. We live in a day where this perspective is under assault. As a result, never have so many owed so much to so few. Very few churches have more than 20% of their people involved in ministry.