for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. (ESV)
When God established his church he knew that she would be made up of many different and valuable parts. No one person can do all the work of ministry that needs to happen in the church. The Apostle Paul did great things. But he was only one person. He needed help. Here he was in prison, unable to travel to areas where the Gospel was needed.
The Church at Philippi, which was started by the ministry of the Apostle Paul, wanted to be a help to Paul, yet they couldn't move their whole church from Philippi to Rome where Paul was imprisoned. So, they sent Epaphroditus. Epaphroditus did what he could to be the help that Philippi wanted to provide.
Epaphroditus was so committed to the work of the Gospel that he was willing to risk his life. We do not know exactly what kind of illness he had (verse 27), but we know that there was no lack in his dedication for the work of the ministry. Epaphroditus is an example for all of us. Ministry is not something that is optional, or for the faint of heart. Jesus wants our all, just as he gave us his all.
There are many people who want to be honored and recognized for "ministry" work, but they are not willing to sacrifice their lives for the cause of Christ. They want to have their ego stroked. They want to get credit for what they do, and if it is not sufficiently given they will make life miserable for those around them. That is not ministry. That is selfishness. We need to follow Epaphroditus' selfless example.
Are you willing to die for the work of Christ? What work are you doing for him? Small or great are you willing to do whatever the Savior wants without demanding any credit?