19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 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. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
One thing that’s evident here is how important people are. In the midst of our technology and programs and fast-tracked lives, we need each other. Paul needed Timothy; Timothy needed Paul. The Christ-followers in Philippi needed both of them. When Jesus died for us, He proved our ultimate value to God. We honor that when we demonstrate, by our actions and words, the high value of people (all people).
We need to remember that people are more important than our procedures. When our Pastors were on our planning get-away a couple of weeks ago, we went to a restaurant on the river in Marble Falls. We didn’t get there until after the lunch crowd was pretty much gone, so we didn’t think it would take long to seat the six of us. We found some couches, a few feet from the hostess, with a big screen tv showing the Olympics, so we had a great place to wait. However, we waited and waited. She told us they were waiting for a big party to finish their dessert and then they could seat us. In the mean time, she took a couple of parties of 2 and seated them while we waited. When we got to the 45 minute wait time, I noticed she had seated another couple so I went to the dining area to see what the deal was. She seated them at a table for four which was right beside another empty table for four. It would have been so easy to just push the tables together and seat our party of six. When I came back and asked her about it, she told me: “Oh, we can’t do that – we can’t split the servers sections”. I’m not a restaurant manager and don’t know the ins and outs, but this place wasn’t full and they had 6 customers who had been waiting patiently for 45 minutes. I told the hostess: “Sure you can – you just push the tables together and make it work.” She said: “No, we can’t do that.” So I said thank you and we left. We went next door to Chilis, where we were seated almost immediately by a hostess that seemed thrilled we were there. It may have just been the hostess that day, but I think that restaurant forgot why they’re in business, and they lost 6 good customers who not only ate well, but tipped BIG! We, as a church and as believers, are in the people business and must never forget this. We need each other; they need us. By the way, that’s why getting in a Home Team is so important – they help us connect in relationships with others.
Timothy was Paul’s trusted friend and co-worker. It’s rare to find such a person, and when you do they are a treasure. Many genuine believers intend well, but the truth is they often look out for their own interests instead of those of Jesus. Paul trusted Timothy because he had proven that he put the purpose of Jesus Christ ahead of his own personal interests.
Some simple questions can help us clarify our interests. The Bible says we are to put God and His Kingdom first. Every day we have is a gift from God and belongs to Him, but do you give God priority time in your day (time alone with Him) or do you give Him the leftovers? Do you give God the first day of your week; do you consistently attend and actively participate in a God-honoring church? Do you give God the first portion of your income, or does He get your leftovers? Do you give God and His Word first place in your decision making – at work, at school, and at home? Paul’s wasn’t saying totally disregard your own needs/interests (Phil 2:4). In fact, if you have a family, and don’t take care of them and their needs (not greeds) the Bible says you are worse than a non-believer (1 Tim. 5:8). But in the midst of all you do, will you put God and His will for your life first? That’s the kind of person Timothy was and Paul had no reservations about sending him to check on and encourage the Philippians. Whenever a leader finds someone like this in ministry, it brings great encouragement and joy to that leader and to the people being led.