I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon. (Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 2, verses 19-24)
How many fellow Christians do you have in your life who think first about you before themselves? Is that a rare person or common? I was teaching this last Sunday and coughing a bit. A lady in the class got up, got a cup of water and brought it to me. Is that a big sacrifice? No, but it was so thoughtful and appreciated. A friend of mine came to my rescue one day some years ago now by sitting with me and letting me be accountable to him about a struggle I was going through. I have never doubted for a minute that he would keep that safe or that he did not love me despite what he knew. In big and little ways we are to be for each other.
When Paul thought about Jesus and how he modeled for us humility of mind, that willingness to consider others more important than himself and to have concern for our concerns, and not just his own, Paul also thought about Timothy. From Paul’s perspective there was no one else like him for two reasons:
- Timothy had a genuine concern for the welfare of the Philippians. Even though he wasn’t a Philippian himself he had come to love these believers. Paul could trust the Philippians to Timothy and they could trust Timothy because he did not look out only for his own interests and needs but for the interests of the Philippians also. But even more importantly, he looked out for the interests of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ concerns had become Timothy’s concerns. When you have a combination like that in a fellow Christian you have supernatural power at work in ministry.
- Timothy had proven himself to Paul and the Philippians by his willingness to serve Paul like a son in the work of the gospel. He had learned from the apostle, ministered side by side with the apostle, and been a responsible delegate from the apostle to his churches when needed. Paul had experienced Timothy’s ministry of humility in his own life.
Paul had seen too many examples of just the opposite. So once again he was going to send Timothy to Philippi with news of the results of his trial, and, as Paul anticipated, he too would come soon after. And while there, Timothy would surely find the Philippians engaged in rebuilding their unity as they too demonstrated the humility of mind that Timothy displayed.
Humble fellow believers make us want to imitate them. Get yourself around them as much as you can.