Deficient Service?

The previous post in this series is:

Sending Him Back

The first post in this devotional series covering the book of Philippians is Devoted to Philippians.

Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me. (Philippians 2:29-30)

It’s such an uplifting letter, Philippians. So, why does Paul call their service deficient? What, did they send too small a gift? I’ve been puzzled about this, so I dug around a bit.

The Greek for “deficient” doesn’t really help much; the word seems to mean something pretty close to deficient. The word “service”, now, that’s a different story. This word doesn’t mean money. It could be translated ministry or ministration instead of service.

So, apparently their financial donation was just fine. But, Epaphroditus is just one man. He was to help Paul out in more ways than just delivering the money (although that would have been good enough.) Epaphroditus seems to have gone the extra mile in serving Paul.

So it wasn’t just that they didn’t send enough. It was that Epaphroditus saw more needs, and tried to fill them.

Thus, Paul is able to say “and hold men like him in high regard”.

The next post in this series is:

Write … Again?

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