“But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.” (Philippians 2:19-20)
Paul cited Timothy and Epaphroditus as two faithful ministry friends (Philippians 2:19-30). Their activities provide a great inventory to follow as we “work out [our] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12).
- Likeminded: The Greek word is isopsuchos, or “equal in soul.” Effective ministry friendships agree in purpose (Amos 3:3).
- Genuine Care: The Holy Spirit used merimnao, a burden for others’ needs. Philippians 2:2-4 lists the restrictions.
- Seek Christ’s Things: Edify each other (1 Corinthians 14:12), focus on heavenly ideals (Colossians 3:1), and crave the kingdom and God’s righteousness more than our welfare (Matthew 6:33).
- Serve Together: Timothy was to Paul like a “son with the father” serving with him “in the gospel” (Philippians 2:22). To be acceptable, that service must be in “righteousness, and peace, and joy” (Romans 14:17).
- Companion in Labor: Similarly, Epaphroditus is said to work with Paul (Philippians 2:25). As with Timothy, their focus was “to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:2).
- Fellow Soldier: Military metaphors abound in the Bible, with a common thread of the spiritual warfare defined in Ephesians 6:10-18. We must “endure hardness” when we assist in the ministry (2 Timothy 2:3).
Not every Christian meets the excellence of these faithful friends. “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6). HMM III