“I’ll take lesser-appreciated New Testament people for 800, Alex.”
“Ok. And the answer to the question is: Paul said of him,
‘For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. They all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know [his] proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.'”
(Philippians 3:20-22 ESV)
“Who is Timothy?”
Timothy. No one like him. Like spiritual father, like spiritual son. Genuine. The real meal deal. Proven!
The few verses I read in Philippians this morning aren’t the most theological verses in the New Testament. Not much here in the way of a promise to claim, or a command to obey, or an attribute of God to evoke worship. Instead, in Philippians 2:19-30 Paul talks about two guys who are not that well known by most. Kind of un-sung heroes. But concerning them, Paul says, “Honor such men” (2:29).
Timothy is probably the better known of the two. At least we know that there are a couple of letters in the New Testament written to him. Paul loved this guy. Paul saw nothing but potential in this guy. Paul was encouraged by this guy. Encouraged not because of what Timothy did for Paul, but because of what Timothy did for others — because of what Timothy did for Christ.
Paul says that there was no one like him. No one who was as “like-minded” (NKJV), no one as “equal in soul”, as Timothy when it came to loving and caring for the saints. Paul said that he knew of no other who, like Timothy, so possessed the mind of Christ (Php. 2:4-5) that he was fueled by looking out for the interests of the Great Shepherd and the welfare of His flock. Timothy had an ingrained passion for caring and feeding the bride of Christ. That’s why Paul asked him to visit the Philippians and encourage them.
And two words that grab me in this mini-bio of Timothy’s are “proven worth.” Paul says of his son in the faith, “You know his proven worth.” The NKJV translates the Greek word “proven character.”
A little poking into the Greek word and it has the idea of a coin that was approved and verified as being of full weight–unlike some of the shaved coins of the day put into circulation by those who hoped to make a few dollars by turning the shavings into another coin. Timothy was no counterfeit, he was proven.
His character was weighed on the scales of his actions and found to be the real thing. He didn’t just read about having the mind of Christ and esteeming others better than himself. He didn’t just talk of serving others. Timothy actually did it! He sought to model His Savior, the One who came not to be served but to serve others and give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He had the mind of Christ. He had the compassion of Christ. He lived as a servant of Christ. Genuine. Authentic. Proven.
And as I think about Timothy this morning my mind goes to a conference center in Oregon where a bunch of men and their wives are gathered together for some respite, reflection, and renewal. It’s one of a number of such gatherings that will be held throughout the U.S. and Canada over the next few weeks. And you might say that all of these couples are “lesser known New Testament people.” For the most part, they serve small congregations in out of the way places. These couples will probably never receive much notoriety here on earth. But they are those marked by genuine concern for others, faithfulness to Christ, and a commitment to the gospel. They are the men and women of Village Missions. Those of whom Christ might echo Paul’s words, “I have no one like them. Honor such people. They are proven.”
By God’s grace. For God’s glory.