In this passage, we have three men who have served the Lord well: Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus. At this point in the early church history, Paul is imprisoned, and therefore relying more heavily on his own disciples. And, according to Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus are two of his very best.
Timothy was said to be from Lystra, a town located in present-day Turkey. It was in this town where Paul and Timothy met during each of his first two missionary trips. Timothy, and really the whole town of Lystra, were in a peculiar situation of being once part of a Greek province, then under the rule of Rome, but also consisting of people who were of Jewish faith. So, Timothy, as a result, was the son of a Greek man and a Jewish woman. The town itself did not have a synagogue, but did have Greek temples. After witnessing a healing of a lame man (Acts 14), it is likely that Timothy converted to The Way (early term for Christians). In his second mission trip through Lystra, Timothy was ordained as one of Paul’s disciples.
Epaphroditus was another follower and disciple of Paul, and who resided in Philippi. Paul refers to him as his as a brother, co-worker, and soldier. In this case, the word used to describe brother is one of close, personal relationship. Paul obviously deeply cared for and loved Epaphroditus. The use of co-worker refers to Epaphroditus’ commitment to his service to Paul and to Jesus. Finally, the word soldier here refers to someone who has endured hardship in his service.
In these two people Paul refers to, we have two people who have served the Lord faithfully and have worked their fingers to the bone. Paul says that there is no one else like Timothy, who has served and will serve genuinely FOR OTHERS rather than himself, as it appears others serving in Philippi have been doing. Epaphroditus served so well to the point that he was ill and near death.
Just as Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus did, we are called to serve Jesus faithfully. We are called to be “all in.” When the time presents itself for us to do service in the name of the Lord, whether it is to hold the door open for someone, to allow someone to merge into traffic on the road, or shovel snow for someone who is unable, or whatever the case may be, that we do that job 100%. It is my belief that we will do better to spread the love of God through service of others than we would by any other means. Pay it forward. You may be surprised at the result.
Sources: bible.org, biblehub.com, wikipedia.org (I know, not always reliable, but in the case of basic background knowledge of Lystra, it worked out this time)