Philippians 2:19-21 “Now I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I learn how you are doing. I have nobody else like him who will genuinely care for your needs. For all the others look after their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”
What is it about Timothy that caused him to stand out among the multitude of believers in Paul’s day? There was a character quality Paul witnessed in Timothy that gave rise to trust and admiration, eventually leading to leadership.
When Paul and Barnabas first visited Lystra in the mid-first century, Paul healed a person crippled from birth, leading many of the inhabitants to accept his teaching. When he returned a few years later with Silas, Timothy who was from Lystra had already become a respected member of the Christian congregation.
What we see from the life of Timothy is a caring spirit for others that was exhibited in every facet of his life.
*What can I learn from Timothy that will change my heart toward others?
Timothy had a father who was a Greek Gentile and a Jewish mother. After Timothy’s conversion, he became Paul’s disciple, and later his constant companion and co-worker in preaching.
His familiarity with the Torah was something his mother probably taught him and his fathers lineage of seeking truth through Greek philosophy more than likely contributed to Timothy’s understanding and receiving the Truth of the gospel.
The gospel makes sense if it is taken into serious consideration. It is when people approach the gospel with apathy or indifference that their ability to receive the message contained in it is inhibited.
Paul made it very clear how he presented the gospel in Romans and other letters he wrote. The Moral Law was central to his theme in helping others understand the necessity for grace.
Galatians 3:24 “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
Romans 3:20 “Therefore no one will be justified in His sight by works of the law. For the law merely brings awareness of sin.”
It was Timothy’s awareness of God’s Moral law that allowed him to see his need for Grace.
1 John 3:4 “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”
The law is a source of continual frustration for people because of the impossibility in keeping it. Any attempt to be justified by the law was a losing proposition for practicing Jews, especially for those who lived outside Jerusalem. The necessity to go to the temple to be atoned for sin necessitated a sacrifice which gave only a temporary solution to a much more significant spiritual problem.
Romans 10:1-5 “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they are zealous for God, but not on the basis of knowledge. Because they were ignorant of God’s righteousness and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, to bring righteousness to everyone who believes.”
You see, a righteousness by the law is one that brings failure. The Moral Law was given as a sign of God’s perfection and we as a people will never measure up by our own merits.
The only way to be justified for sin is to receive the righteousness of God through Christ.
Timothy not only received this message with joy, it transformed him for the rest of his life.
Timothy was probably reserved and timid by nature. In 1 Corinthians 16:10, Paul is seen encouraging the church in Corinth which probably eased Timothy’s fears and helped him do the work of the Lord. Timothy went with Paul and Silas on several missionary journeys and as he grew in faith he grew in boldness.
Before long, Paul was able to entrust Timothy by sending him into other regions on his own to encourage and care for the church. In 64 A.D, Paul finally left him in Ephesus as a bishop in the church to oversee the congregations growth and spiritual development.
Timothy lived by serving, it started early in His life of faith and continued throughout his time in ministry. It was reported that he was jailed once for his faith and routinely cared for Paul during his imprisonments. At the end of his life, we are told in the apocryphal ‘Acts of Timothy’, that in the year 97A.D., at the ripe age of 80, he attempted to halt a procession for the goddess Diana, the pagan followers then beat and dragged him through the streets while finally stoning him to death.
There are many attributes of Timothy that are praiseworthy. His relationship with Paul was close and Paul entrusted him with missions of great importance. Timothy’s name appears as the co-author on 2 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Even with all these accolades, his greatest compliment was probably Paul’s statement, “I have nobody else like him who will genuinely care for your needs.”
*Timothy was not superficial or insincere in his approach…he was genuine and that is a quality that draws people in.
What is it about Timothy’s life that inspires us who live by the same conviction?
1. Timothy began in fear and finished in boldness. Paul as well as the church helped in strengthening him through this weakness and into a great man of God.
2. Timothy had a strength of recognizing others needs and meeting those needs. This takes discernment, compassion, and most of all love.
3. Timothy became an overseer of the church of Ephesus. The wisdom he gained while serving along with the humility he learned in service became a bedrock of serving his congregation. Servanthood, first modeled by Jesus is the mark of a good Pastor and Timothy exemplified it.
Anyone can serve, it really is a choice. Timothy became a huge help to Paul, much of Paul’s ministry was reliant on people like him who were willing to take a secondary role to fulfill the mission God had ordained.
What is your mission? Where has God called you to serve in His Kingdom?
Servanthood is a good place to start!