May 2, 2018
Philippians 2:19 – 20 19I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare.
Stop for a moment and count how many friends you have who you believe truly care for the welfare of others. Go ahead, I’ll wait………
How many did you count? I hope you have many. The Apostle Paul only had one or two. In this passage of Philippians, he tells us about the most commendable role model he knew in this regard. He describes Timothy as a friend who takes a genuine interest in the welfare of people.
Timothy gave up everything in his life to follow Jesus and become the servant of Jesus Christ. He served the Lord by serving Paul. He sacrificed his family, his home, his security, and even more, because he loved Jesus more than anything. He was so dedicated to Christ’s purpose that he spent time in prison with Paul to encourage him and help him.
As Paul’s servant in the spreading of the Gospel, Timothy was asked to leave Paul on several occasions and travel across the country to visit churches and deliver Paul’s letters and teachings. Sometimes he made these trips alone, not knowing what he would encounter along the way or how he would be treated by the church people when he arrived.
In those churches that greeted him warmly, he would be welcomed into a home, given food and shelter, and be praised for his ministry to them and to Paul. He would probably be offered employment to help him out financially while he was there. He would enjoy the comforts and security of friends and society. When the time came to leave and return to Paul, he may have been tempted to stay and enjoy the benefits of freedom and prosperity. But he didn’t. He was committed to the ministry God had given him and he would return to a life of poverty and pain to minister to Paul.
When Paul describes Timothy, he says that he has a genuine interest in people. The Greek word for genuine means natural, and comes from another word that means legitimately born. Timothy’s interest in people was not contrived or insincere; it was the natural expression of a heart that had been legitimately born again by the spirit of God. There was nothing fake about his concern for people.
The Greek word for interest means to be anxious, and is the same word Jesus used when He warned us not to be anxious about what we are going to wear and what we are going to eat, but rather to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all the other things will be provided for us as well. Timothy’s interest in people carried the same measure of concern that we show when we are concerned about the price of food, clothes, housing, or fuel.
Timothy was commended for his genuine concern for the welfare of people because it was the honest expression of his heart, and because he cared deeply enough to get involved. The needs of people were always at the forefront of his thinking, and his own needs never took priority over the needs of others. That’s why Paul could say that he had no other friend like him.
Now, go back over your list of friends again using Timothy as your model. How many of them truly care about the welfare of others? I hope you don’t have to scratch a few names off your original list. But I also hope that other people didn’t have to scratch you off their list. My prayer is that you are one of the remaining names on someone’s list of friends who truly, genuinely, and sincerely care about the welfare of other people? Praise God if you are!