I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.Phil 2:20
We meet two friends of the Apostle Paul in this last half of chapter two. These were real men who quite unconsciously display the character of Jesus Christ, excellent examples of all Paul has been writing about.
First we meet Timothy in verses 19-24. As Paul writes about him we see that the underlying quality that marks the man is Jesus Christ. We see that Timothy is an exceptional man. Paul says,
I have no one like him. Wouldn't you like to have that written about you? I know there were many things at which Timothy did not excel. With his frail body, I am sure he was not much of an athlete. He could very easily have been beaten at sports, or possibly surpassed in learning. But there was one area where no one even comes close to this man, and that is in his selfless care, his demonstration of genuine and anxious concern for the welfare of others. Here he is demonstrating that peculiarly Christian virtue, that distinctive mark of the presence of Christ within: selflessness! That is what the Lord Jesus said of himself,
Learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.
The other day I read a definition of meekness that I think is tremendous. I've been searching for a definition of that word for years. I don't know any word in Scripture that is more thoroughly misunderstood than that. Most of us think of meekness in terms of weakness. We picture some chinless, Casper Milquetoast who lets people walk all over him. But of course that description would never apply to our Lord. What did he mean when he said,
I am meek. I read that
meekness is that quality which receives injury without resentment, and praise without pride. Timothy is demonstrating that utter unconcern for the rights and privileges of self, and an outgoing, deep and genuine concern for the needs of others.
I don't know quite what Paul means when he says,
for all others look after their own interests. I rather think, however, this tells a bit of a story, for as Paul searched among his acquaintances there in Rome for someone to go to Philippi, he must have asked a number of them to do this. Evidently all of them turned him down. Not because they couldn't do it. I'm sure Paul would not have asked them if that had been the case. But they turned him down because they were interested solely in their own concerns. They all had perfectly good excuses why none could undertake the journey to Philippi. The only one to whom Christ's business was his business was Timothy. You can imagine what an encouragement he must have been to the apostle's heart as he is longing to send someone to the Philippians to help them with their problems and everyone turns him down simply because of their own selfish concerns. But Timothy says,
All right, Paul, I'm ready to go-any time, any place, anywhere. This was the selflessness of this man. No wonder he was always a channel of power wherever he went, as he went ready to be an instrument of God's grace.
Father, teach me to be a person who genuinely cares for the welfare of others, and is willing to demonstrate that care in selfless acts of service.
Are we self-satisfied with 'random acts of kindness' which may cost us little? As we consider the incomparable sacrifice of our Lord on our behalf, can we do less than worship Him with all we have and are?