“Have THIS Mind IN you which was also IN Christ Jesus”- {Phil 2:5}. Paul gives four Illustrations of living out “The mind of CHRIST” Through… SERVING OTHERS BEFORE SELF -{Read Phil 2:3-4,25-30}

He gives us a picture of the Lord JESUS, Paul himself, Timothy and… another  of those EXAMPLES was a man called…EPAPHRODITUS; The man who nearly died in the service to others.

“Risked” his life for the sake of the Gospel. The word is a gambling term to “RISK,” everything on the role of a dice. EPAPHRODITUS was GOD’S GAMBLER- He risked the life he had on the LORD Jesus, and the evidence “…because he came close to death FOR the work of Christ, RISKING his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.”-{v26,29-30}. He gave his all, in difficult circumstances with a difficult political climate as a Christian.

Paul calls him “my brother…my fellow worker… my fellow soldier “fellow” speaks of being one-souled, or the same mind. He was a gift from the church sent to minister to Paul’s needs and this he did representing the church of Philippi who loved Paul…who uses the word “your” twice. “Your messenger, your minister…to my need” -{v 25}.  Epaphroditus assignment was specific- Take care of Paul, go serve him. And this he did! OTHERS BEFORE SELF!

Some translations use, ” “not regarding his life” it means literally that he “gambled his life”. That phrase means, “to throw aside, to throw down”. It speaks of “voluntarily hazarding one’s welfare and exposing oneself to danger”. It was a term used to describe “gamblers” who “threw their money down and exposed it to the danger of loss.” It could mean “to place everything on a roll of the dice!” In fact, many times as a gambler would throw the dice, he would say “Epaphroditus“. He was asking Aphrodite to look favorably upon his wager. In other words, Epaphroditus willingly gambled his life for the cause of Christ! He put his life on the line to see Paul’s needs met and to see souls brought into the kingdom of God. “-{preceptaustin comnetaries}

  • “The word for risking means to “hazard, to throw aside one’s life, or to gamble.” In fact, this word became a noun with the formation of a group of Christians in the third century. They called themselves the “parabolani,” the gamblers, after this verse of Scripture and in honor of Epaphroditus. Whenever and wherever a plague hit, these gamblers would rush in to take care of the sick and bury the dead. They were willing to risk their lives to live out the Gospel.“-{Brian Bill}
  • Risking (“having gambled with his life” -LIghtfoot)  (paraboleuomai from parabolos = venturesome, reckless) literally means to throw aside (para = aside + ballo = to throw), hence to expose to danger, be careless, rashly expose oneself to dangers, to be venturesome, reckless. To have no concern for.”
  •  Barclay adds that paraboleuomai was “a gambler’s word and means to stake everything on a turn of the dice. Paul is saying that for the sake of Jesus Christ Epaphroditus gambled his life.” (Philippians 2 Commentary)

Pioneer missionary Jim Elliot, who gave his life for Christ  in seeking to make known the Gospel to the Acua Indians of South America, said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Epaphroditus  lived this and God calls us likewise to lay our lives down in loving sacrificial service to others by the choices we make daily in all circumstances to Prefer others, esteeming them above ourselves and seeking their interests! God calls us to be “Gamblers,”- “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it”-{Matthew 10:30}.

We daily “gamble” our lives, on something or someone, investing our time, energy, resources, but we can do so partially, but to follow CHRIST means giving all of our being in totality in submission to Him and as His servant to live for Him, to “gamble” it all on Him, and in turn His cause!  To be “God’s gambler,” will be manifested in choosing to live, OTHERS BEFORE SELF as Epaphroditus whose name  came to mean “lovely” manifests the “lovely” life of God’s Gambler! A Suffering Servant- who gambled his life on Jesus and lived it out in service to others for His sake!

It did not keep him from nearly dying, “...he was sick… For indeed he was sick to the point of death, BUT GOD had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow…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.”-{v26,29-30}. Note Paul now calls the church at Philippi to “receive him in the LORD with all JOY, and hold men like him in high regard…” he wants them to value Epaphroditus and people like him continually esteeming and preferring … and he gives the reason, “…because he came close to death FOR the work of Christ, RISKING his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.”

God has recorded his life  in Scriptures for generations and held him up as an example of “This Mind IN you… which was also …IN Christ Jesus.” Such people are to be honored,”…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.” He SERVED OTHERS before SELF.

As you too express “This Mind…IN you…” “The Mind of Christ” you will be a blessing to others, it does not change the fact you possibly could get sick, be looked down upon, discarded like some, encounter suffering, difficulties… “But God…” has given you the information of what “the Mind of Christ” is and now through His Power {Read Phil 2:13 NLT} serve the people around you and as you are going in your daily living, wherever you find yourself be looking out intently, purposely to prefer others and serve them. OTHERS BEFORE SELF! Exercise the mind of Christ to people whom you can sacrificially serve and do good to, and in doing so be a living testimony of “THE MIND OF CHRIST” in action!

SPEND your Life serving others for Jesus sake, be an Epaphroditus – Look around you, who is in your life? Prefer them Serve them by looking out for their interests also… for Jesus sake. Will it cost you? Yes! Not meaning you lose your life physically, but losing your life in regards giving your all to serve others, who may never appreciate you, acknowledge your love, but if you are doing it for that, then it is ‘selfishness and vain glory”-{Phil 2:3} rather than doing it For His sake. The difference is the MOTIVATION. Why do you do what you do? DO IT BECAUSE It is HIS Will for you and your privilege to do so ultimately for Him. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “…ourselves YOUR SERVANTS, FOR JESUS SAKE!”-{2 Cor 4:5}


 Be  A “God’s Gambler” Today,- He Is Worth It!-🙂