The Messenger, Philippians 2
“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 will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their 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.” Philippians 2:19-24 NIV
In New Testament times, because travel was difficult and communications was limited, messengers were often sent as personal representatives. News was difficult to send because it had to be carried by a messenger and sometimes the journey itself could be dangerous. Consequently, letters were used as surrogates for one’s presence and also to announce one’s coming. Paul’s letter to the Philippians was used as a surrogate for his own presence and was announcing the coming of Timothy.
Timothy was a messenger for Paul. In Timothy, Paul sends his very best to the church at Philippi. Below are two things that Paul recognized in Timothy that made him a good messenger were:
1 – Timothy had a heart for others.
Like Paul, Timothy lived for others and not only himself. Timothy had grown a shepherd’s heart to have a greater concern for those he served than for himself. Timothy was Paul’s best because Timothy lived out Philippians 1:21. Read the next two verses carefully.
“21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:21 NIV
“21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 NIV
Sadly, far too many Christians live out Philippians 2:21, more than they live out Philippians 1:21! It is important to ask the question, which verse is more representative of your life?
2 – Timothy was faithful in service.
Apparently, Paul did not call Timothy into service right away. While Paul led Timothy to Jesus, he also allowed Timothy to develop a good testimony of faithful service at home before Paul added him to his missionary staff. This teaches that if you want God to do great things through you tomorrow, you must learn to be faithful to Him today.
In light of 1 Timothy 3:6-7 we know that Paul was careful to allow time for a disciple to grow and mature before giving them important tasks.
“6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.” 1 Timothy 3:2-6 NIV
Some scholars suggest that Timothy was allowed to remain at home and to grow for about five to six years prior to becoming a pastor along with Paul.
Messengers for Today
God still sends messengers to His people today. God still looks to send out people who have a heart for others and who will be faithful in service. To encourage and reach teachers, God sends teachers. To encourage and reach probation officers, God sends probation officers. To encourage and reach students, He sends students. To encourage and reach mothers, He sends mothers. To encourage and reach construction workers, He sends construction workers.
The Holy Spirit wants to work through you to be His surrogate to bring encouragement for those in adversity and He wants to use you to announce and herald His coming. Grow a heart for others. Remain faithful when you serve Him. He will do the greatest works through those who have a heart for others and who remain faithful in service to Him.
Forgive me Holy Spirit of the many times that I live out Philippians 2:21 more than I live our Philippians 1:21. There are so many times that I am too self-centered. Increase my heart for others Lord. Empower me to be faithful in my service to You. Use me as a Messenger to speak Your love and encouragement to others. Use me as a Messenger to announce Your coming. Amen.