Risky Business for Men

Speaking about Epaphroditus, the Pastor of the Church at Philippi, Paul says:

Welcome him in the Lord with great joy and honor men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me. ~ Philippians 2:29-30

The motto of the USS Dallas nuclear-powered attack submarine of the United States Navy is “First in Harm’s Way.” That’s the type of risk spoken of here. Epaphroditus risked his life, put himself in harm’s way, and almost died for the work of Christ to make up for the help the Philippians could not give to Paul.

When he says “honor men like him”, it is a call for godly leadership. A call for men of courage that put service before security.

Why are there so many bored and unfulfilled men that have lost the spirit of adventure they had as young men?

Why aren’t they risking anything anymore? Is it because they don’t have anything to live for, any challenge, any goals bigger than themselves?

Only those who give away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live. ~ Mark 8:35

If you want to live… go for broke for Jesus Christ! Give up your life. Give up your reputation!

It is sad when a man, rather than being the spiritual leader of his home, is a detriment. He resents his wife’s growth. He’s afraid of it and limits it. One of the greatest challenges you will ever face in your life is to live for Jesus Christ in front of your wife and your family, friends, work associates. Are you man enough to do it?

Why is it, that evangelical Churches (in Australia) are full of girls and women who want to know and serve Jesus Christ and not men? Al Stewart says, “It’s because that’s who we cater to.” We sing soft songs that would sound better in a karaoke bar being sung by a teenage girl to her boyfriend. We hold “morning tea” for the ladies to have a bickie and chat. We have girl’s night’s out. We have women’s conferences, women’s Bible Study Fellowships.

We have failed, because we don’t honour men like Epaphroditus. We mark him as a trouble maker. He’s unstable. We don’t like him. He might do something without asking permission – we better shut him down.

Epaphroditus was just an ordinary guy, not a super star, but 2000 years later we’re still talking about him. When I look at my life and work, as a man, how much is it going to count 50 years from now? Or 100 or 1000? Will it make any difference? Will yours?


2 thoughts on “Risky Business for Men

  1. There is not much difference in men’s ministry between Aus & USA.

    What I meant by men limiting the spiritual growth of their wife is that we have many nominal male church goers who, instead of actively leading their families are, by their inaction and stubborness, sinfully holding them back.
    e.g. typical scenario: Some midweek event/ministry opportunity comes along – the wife is interested & wants to participate – the husband responds with, “You need to spend more time at home” or “You are neglecting me/children/household/etc”.

    Part of the Church’s call to engage men is also to confront them and call them to Christ.
    We can’t do that while we waste time appealing (only) to women (with the soft music, pretty decorations etc). So, when his wife wants to go to bible study group, he isn’t threatened or emasculated, he is encouraged by her interest in spiritual things and seizes the opportunity to lead her in Christ likeness.

    Men need to see that (among other things) an application/implication of the gospel of Jesus is a counter cultural call to sacrificial leadership of their wife, family, church and community. The Church can facilitate that by “honoring men like Epaphroditus” – hold them up as positive examples, examples that fly in the face of the tv version of the impotent male figures and instead represent the King of Kings.


  2. I think you’re onto something here my friend, but about your comment that men are the ones stifling their wives’ spiritual growth, at least here in America, I think I might disagree with you a bit on this one.
    It sounds like things aren’t much different between our two continents: our churches are made up primarily of women and the songs we sing are love songs to a guy. How many men want to sing love songs in octaves that hurt to another man?
    For the most part, men are absent from church for a variety of reasons, but I think you’ve hit on some of the big reasons why we don’t go.
    Here in America society has become anti-male — at least anti anything masculine. Our television commercials berate men and our television shows belittle them. Even some of our female political leaders tend to be more masculine in terms of their ability to make decisions and have core philosophical beliefs that they’ll fight for than their male counterparts.

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