Servant’s Entrance – Man as Provider

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy's proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. - Philippians 2:19-22 ESV

Pastor Steve Cole tells about the interesting entrance to the St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Years ago, the church had only one door into the sanctuary, and over that door was a hand-lettered sign that read, “Servant’s Entrance.” There wasn’t any way in or out of that church except through the servant’s entrance! That’s a good reminder of the fact that every believer is called to serve our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Honestly, a non-serving Christian is a contradiction in terms, especially in view of Jesus, who Paul presents as our model in Philippians 2:5-11. Christ left heaven’s  glory to take on the form of a servant and to become obedient to death on the cross for our sake. So, in light of that incredible example of humble, sacrificial service, Paul talks of behavior fitting for a servant who wants to model the Master and be a shining light in the darkness in v 12-18. Then in v 19-30 Paul turns to some seemingly mundane matters about sending Timothy and Epaphroditus to the Philippians, and about his hope to come visit personally, provided he is released from prison. Yet even in this, Paul continues this theme of humble, sacrificial service while talking about these two men. 

First, Paul commends Timothy as a servant. He had given up his own interests to put Christ and the Kingdom first, just like Paul had. In fact, as Paul surveyed those who were with him in Rome under his house arrest, there was only one man whose heartbeat was in sync with that of Paul. The apostle basically confessed: “I don't have anyone like Timothy who is same-souled. He stands above the rest.” He had faithfully proven his worth, and even the Philippians knew “how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel (v 22). 

Second, Paul commends Epaphroditus, who brought the missions offering from the Philippian church and stayed on to help Paul, and nearly died in the process. We don’t know if he got sick on the six-week journey, pushing himself almost beyond his physical limits in an effort to get to the apostle’s side. Or, after arriving, he contracted some illness and nearly died. Regardless, Epaphroditus kept pushing himself, as Paul put it, “risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me” (v 30). Consequently, Paul said this man is “my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need” (v 25). In fact, the word Paul used we translate as “minister” and “service” comes from a Greek word from which we get our word “liturgy.” The Greek word speaks of sacred service or worship. Every servant does what he does, whether giving or helping or leading, as an offering to the Lord Jesus. Here’s the point: When we serve others, we serve Christ.

The truth is both these men provide powerful examples of humble, sacrificial service.  As Providers, we have that same calling, and guys, it begins at home. We read in Ephesians 5:25 how husbands are to “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” That involves serving our wives and placing her needs above our own, even in the giving of our lives. Our kids and grandkids desperately need us to provide that example of humble, sacrificial service. 

Now obviously this calling to provide an example of service starts at home, but it doesn’t end there. Again, Paul commends these two brothers who also humbly served the church and its leaders. How we need men like you and me to step into the role of servant in the churches today. Remember, the only entrance to the church is the “servant’s entrance.”

What are some ways you can provide an example of humble, sacrificial service to your family?  Make a list of things you could do to take it to the next level.
- Paul described Epaphroditus as “my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need.” What do you think your ministers would say about you?  How can you step up your service in your church?
- Ask God to help you grow in adopting the attitude of Christ, who “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (v 7).