I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also. I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
It’s about who we are becoming, not what we are producing or doing.
Throughout the second chapter of Philippians we have seen what it looks like to become more and more like Jesus. We have been encouraged to walk in humility (just like Jesus did), to serve one another (just like Jesus did), to count others more significant than ourselves (just like Jesus did), and to be selfless (just like Jesus was). I first want to remind us all that the very things Paul is encouraging us to do, were first done by Jesus. We humble ourselves because Jesus first humbled Himself. We serve others because Jesus first served us. We count others more significant because Jesus said “I’ll take your cross.” Jesus did it first. And so anytime you might feel this pressure to be more humble, serve people better, be more selfless- take a moment and fix your eyes back on the One who did all of that already and did it on your behalf.
So now Paul shifts and shows us what this has looked like in the form of a person, specifically two people, Timothy and Epaphroditus. Paul takes a minute and commends these men- not for their excellent church services or large gatherings or multiple conversions or excellent appearance and performance. He commends these men for their humility. He commends these men for their selflessness and service to others. Let that sink in for a minute. How often do we convince ourselves that what is commendable and “better” is what we produce… and that what we produce must amount to more people, more dollars, more recognition, more praise? This is not what we see in this section of scripture. No, it’s actually the opposite.
- Caring genuinely about the interests of others& their welfare
- Their real relationships and affection for others
- Serving one another
- Counting others as more significant
These are the things that are commended, and these are the things that look a lot like Jesus when He was walking and breathing and living among us. These men were becoming more and more like Jesus, and Paul brought that to the church’s attention. So church, let’s take the same posture, the posture of becoming rather than producing, the humble and selfless posture of our Savior.
In what ways might you have prioritized the result or the outcome? What do you notice feeling when you’re encouraged to care more about looking like Jesus rather than doing for Jesus?