By Kathi Pelton
As I was reading through the Book of Philippians, I was stopped by a verse where Paul is greatly hoping to send his dear and trusted friend, Timothy, to the believers in Philippi. This is what Paul says about Timothy,
“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.”
Paul makes it clear that there are few (or even no others) like him. Timothy walked and lived with a “genuine” heart of concern for the welfare of others— he was not merely seeking his own interests. It is so sad that it is rare to find such a man.
On occasion I have to the absolute joy and privilege of meeting these rare men and women. They love, they serve and they live with the heart of Jesus for his people with such genuine integrity. These individuals always just cause me to stop and watch (and learn). They give without the thought of “why am I always giving?” or counting the cost. They love without limits and without a demand to be seen. They serve with both joy and true concern for another. They are genuine!
Church culture has far too often highlighted gifts over true character, resulting in a performance driven culture that drains both the leader and the people. I find myself wondering, “Where are those who are like Timothy?” Where are those with proven character and genuine concern for the people’s welfare? Where are the leaders who take far greater joy in their people truly becoming like Jesus and having his character developed in them. If we had many Timothy’s throughout our congregations we’d probably have healthy families and churches that were truly “lighthouses” in the world’s storms.
This is not to bring condemnation on anyone because I have met those who I would consider true “Timothys.” Yet, in the current global atmosphere, we need those with the character of Timothy more than ever before. We need men and women who will walk in genuine love and concern for the well-being of people they are called to serve. And each of us need to ask the Holy Spirit to do that work within us. Paul fully trusted Timothy to be sent because of his integrity and we want the Father to trust us with the people that he sends us to. When we stand before him, I fully believe that will be one of the things that remains— how well and how genuinely did we love and care for others?
It is time to daily ask for a heart like Timothy’s, which was like Jesus’. Not just for pastors or for that rare individual that is loving well behind the scenes— but for every man and women and every gift and every position to walk with genuine concern for the well-being of the people they are called to serve.
What if the leaders of nations had the integrity of Timothy that put the well-being of their citizens before anything else? The people would thrive and the nation would prosper! What if the business leaders served like Timothy and raised up other leaders with a genuine concern for their employees well-being? Those companies and corporations would also thrive and prosper because their employees would thrive at work and at home. What if fathers and mothers, pastors and church leaders, teachers and doctors had the character of Timothy? What a different world we would live in!
So often money or the desire for a recognized name (or the desire for power) has usurped the genuine concern that Paul describes Timothy as possessing. May the Church be those who change this and model what Timothy carried in every sphere of influence; from family to government, businesses to churches. May we genuinely model what it could look like when God’s people become like Timothy and nurture people to have genuine concern for others first and foremost in whatever they will do.
“God, give us this genuine concern for others! Forgive us for every place that has not carried your heart and for every selfish ambition that uses others for personal gain. Transform your people, in every sphere of influence, to walk and live like Timothy— who had your genuine heart. Raise up a people who cause others to thrive and prosper because they were shown true and genuine love and concern as they matured in character.
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