Sometimes you just have to know. Paul wondered how the Philippians were doing. Were they standing firm in their faith? How were they doing amidst the severe trials and persecution they were experiencing? Paul had to know.
Sometimes you just need the right person. Paul needed Timothy. Timothy understood Paul and his mission. He knew how much Paul cared for these people. Timothy saw beyond his own needs and cared about the things of Christ. He had proved himself by helping Paul as a son would help his father. So he wants to send Timothy to find out how they are doing. Down deep, he wants to go himself.
Sometimes you need an envoy. Paul doesn’t send timothy. He sends Epaphroditus. He is a brother in Christ, not only working alongside Paul but also a soldier alongside Paul in the gospel’s work. He is also something else. Perhaps this is the real reason Paul sent him. He is the messenger the Philippians sent to minister to Paul’s need. He was one of them.
Epaphroditus was very lonesome for these people. Paul said he was longing for them. He had been very ill even to the point of death, and he wanted them to know he was alive and well. Paul understood, too. He knew that the Philippians needed to see Epaphroditus and see him well. He knew that the reverse was also true. He sent him along with a message: Receive him gladly. Hold men like him in high regard. This man who in his work for Christ nearly died. This man who was more concerned about their ministry to Paul than his own life completed the task.
Paul knew there was more at stake here than satisfying his own need to know they were well. The Philippians had needs as did Epaphroditus. It wasn’t just about Paul and his ministry. It was much bigger. God expanded Paul’s vision to the needs of all involved in the story. The ministry of Christ is a human endeavour, empowered by the love of Christ who knows, understands, and cares deeply for each of His children.