“Therefore I urgently send him in order that you might rejoice in seeing him again and also that I might be free from anxiety.”
Now that Epaphroditus has recovered, it is Paul’s desire to return him home…not because Paul no longer wishes this man to minister to him in prison, but because it is clear that he needs to be home and around those who can care for him well in times of sickness. Again, we don’t know exactly the sickness that Epaphroditus had, but we do know that it was grave and that the church “back home” in Philippi was concerned.
Here we find in Paul an illustration of what he was speaking about earlier in this chapter about counting the needs of others as more significant than your own. Though it is clear that he would rejoice to have Epaphroditus stay on, it is better for him and for his church family to return to Philippi and thus he prepares to send Epaphroditus home. How often we fail to intentionally live this way. How often Christians compete with one another for what they want, seeking to take care of “ole number one” first…yet no human is truly “number one.” God and God alone is “number one” and if we will genuinely seek to follow him, making sure his wishes are fulfilled before our own, then selflessly is the way we will live. And I should also note…that when genuinely living selflessly, there is little room for anxiety to raise its ugly head in our lives as well.