Whom Do You Seek?

July 12th, 2023 – Early Wednesday Afternoon

“But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me; and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly.” ~Philippians 2:19-24

After closing off the powerful (and sometimes difficult) instructions found in the first half of this chapter, Paul here informs the Philippians that he is hoping to hear more directly how they are fairing. Remember that he had just commanded them to rejoice with him in his suffering on their behalf [in obedience to the instruction to do all things without grumbling or arguing]; once that instruction has been communicated and embraced, attention is turned to the great love that God has poured out in and through the lives of His children for each other. In this instance, that love is seen in the great concern and care that Paul and Timothy have for the Church in Philippi.

Turning now to a slightly different angle, Paul’s valuation of Timothy is clearly seen in this passage; Timothy has proven himself to be of great worth – not only to Paul and the Philippians, but to the gospel itself. It is apparent that Paul dearly loves him and holds him in high regard as a spiritual “son” and co-laborer in the gospel. To that point, Paul’s love for the Philippians (seen throughout this particular passage and through the entire letter as well) is supported and embraced by Timothy himself; Paul trusts Timothy to bring him an accurate report of the condition of the Philippian church.

What, then, is the key to Timothy’s faithful service to Paul, the Philippians, and the gospel – and his love for the church? Read the passage again, taking special note of verse 21: “For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.” There it is…Timothy was interested, not in his own interests and desires (“their own interests” really and truly means “themselves”), but in the interests – in the Person and everything He is – of Christ Jesus. Timothy had heeded the instructions in the beginning of this chapter as his own; he was humble and selfless, operating with the mind of Christ. This attitude and worldview is what enabled and empowered him to love the Philippians (and Paul and the gospel) so well: He was intent on the Master and His desires.

There is much to glean from this section of God’s Word. Perhaps our love for other believers needs to be recharged, refreshed, and rejuvenated; perhaps we need to have a more genuine concern for the welfare of the Body of Christ; or, perhaps we need to prove ourselves to be what we have failed to be thus far – of great value to the furtherance of the kingdom of God. Regardless of how those symptoms need to change, the heart of the matter and the impetus for the needed change is found in our focus: Do we seek ourselves or Christ Jesus?