God has used more than one Timothy in my life. I am especially thankful for how God has sent several Timothys into the life of my family recently.
Toward the end of this summer my family received news that we would be adopting a baby boy. So, we did what any expecting family would do. We got ready, set up the crib with the trusty Allen wrench, bought diapers, and cataloged names.
As the baby’s due date crept onto the calendar our anticipation rose. The week after the baby was due we received more news. During the pregnancy, something went dreadfully wrong, and the baby was lost. In just a few words our anticipation was capsized, replaced with grief. It is exhausting trying to stay afloat when grief and sadness weigh more than your heart.
God sent us Timothys to enter into our hurt, ofering themselves and their prayers. Philippians 2:20 reads, “For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.” Short and sweet. That is what the Philippian church needed and what my family needed.
I notice there is not a list of Timothy’s abilities or gifts. Paul does not
list his qualifcations, age or experience. He does not even list the methods or strategies Timothy might have employed upon arrival at the churches. All those tools are important, but their value hinges on being “genuinely concerned for your welfare.”
What does this mean? People are a priority. It means that Timothy preached and taught for the good of the people, not to validate his value. He devoted time to love and encourage the church, not to produce compliments and cheers. Timothy’s concern for the church, based on the Word of God, moved the church toward security and maturity.
What made Timothy this way? How does someone truly move past envy, rivalry and selfish ambition? The answer is found in the Savior who saved him and the man who discipled him. Jesus Christ was sent to us and His glory was for our welfare (Phil 2:1-9). Timothy watched the apostle Paul preach the word and love the people in all circumstances (Phil 1:3-11). The more I contemplate the simplicity of this verse, the more I think this would be a good place to start with a definition of discipleship.
I imagine I will always need God to send Timothys into my life. You can probably say the same. Maybe you need a Timothy right now. Or perhaps God is preparing you to be a Timothy. My prayer is that I can be a Timothy to my church. I have received “genuine concern” and now I pray that God would use me in the same way.
Jeremy Sarver is married to Mindi and they have three great kids. They have been with Village Missions for 11 years and serve in West Liberty, Ohio.