I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.
(Philippians 2:19-24 ESV)
Earlier in this letter Paul had challenged the Philippians to be less selfish in their thinking by looking out for the interests of others [Philippians 2:3-4]. Paul certainly was leading by example by sending Timothy to Philippi.
If there was ever a time when Paul needed a strong believer at his side it was now, while he was in prison facing execution. However, he was willing to send Timothy to Philippi because he was more interested in the spiritual health of the Philippians than he was in having his own needs met.
The Greek words translated “like him” mean “equal in soul; one in spirit”. Paul and Timothy were on the same page spiritually. That is really saying something about Timothy who was considerably younger than Paul. He and Paul were in complete agreement spiritually. So sending Timothy to Philippi would be the exact same thing as Paul going himself.
In Philippians 2:2 Paul had commanded the Philippians to be of “one mind”. This is exactly how he and Timothy were. Certainly they were not completely in agreement about everything considering their age difference and cultural upbringing – Paul was raised a Jew and formerly killed Christians; Timothy was raised by a a Greek father and a Jewish mother who was a believer [Acts 16:1-3].
Yet Paul and Timothy did not let their differences divide them. Instead they let their common faith unite them. They were both concerned with teaching others about Jesus. They both were “genuinely concerned” about the spiritual health of the Philippians.
The word translated “concerned” here means “to care about at the expense of self”. Timothy was more concerned about the Philippians than he was about himself. Clearly, Timothy had learned the humility that Paul was teaching the Philippians in this very letter.
This type of person is very rare, as Paul states. Many believers still seek out their own interests – career advancement, new hardwood floors, financial security. But once a person is saved that person’s life should be lead for Jesus, not for self [Philippians 1:21].
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