“If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit. Then he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along. I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ. But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News. I hope to send him to you just as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here. And I have confidence from the Lord that I myself will come to see you soon.”
- Paul spoke using phrases like “If the Lord Jesus is willing” or “I hope in the Lord Jesus that…” He knew Proverbs 19:21, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Paul waited in limbo for his trial in Rome. The uncertainty of his circumstance caused him to cling to Christ and those who had proved themselves trustworthy in tough times.
- Timothy became his apprentice ten years earlier on his second missionary journey. What set Timothy apart from the others was his genuine love for others revealed through his consistent actions over a decade of growth. It is easy to love those in our own families, friends we have chosen who make us feel good, and those who we find it easy to love. Jesus said, “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.” (Matthew 5:46-47)
- What set Timothy apart from the rest was a life that proved that he was more concerned about the interests of Christ in his life than his own selfish desires. This connects back to the beginning of the chapter when he says “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Paul is encouraging and commending Timothy for living this out. Many will say they believe serving Jesus is the most important thing in life, however, Paul talks about the proof of life that reveals it.
- As you make plans, do you have an attitude of “if the Lord is willing” leaving room for Him to direct or change those plans?
- Is there someone in your life who has grown in faith and proved by their life that they put the interests of others first? Take some time to encourage them today – text, Facebook, or write them a note telling them the authenticity you see in them.
- Okay- now what about us? Could these words be said about us? Do our lives prove that we put Christ and others first? We all make mistakes, even Paul and Timothy weren’t perfect. Yet Jesus calls us to follow Him which means thinking of others as better than ourselves and taking an interest in their lives.
- Who can you serve with no thought of reciprocation that God is bringing to mind? Think of one practical thing (directed by the Holy Spirit) that you can do today to love and serve someone outside of your family/friends “easy to love” list.
Adoration: Praise God that we can put our hope and confidence in Him even through difficulties in life.
Confession: Confess areas in your life where you know your walk doesn’t match your talk.
Thanksgiving: Thank Jesus for showing us how to live in humility taking an interest in others.
Supplication – Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you give Christ first place in your life today.