In reading through the Biblical references to the relationship that existed between Timothy and the Apostle Paul, it’s clear that they enjoyed a friendship characterized by sincerity, love, and mutual respect. For instance, Paul mentioned Timothy in most of his New Testament letters. In fact, the New Testament books of Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon are mutually addressed from Paul and Timothy. Later when Paul was nearing the end of his life, Timothy was one of the people he asked to see (2 Timothy 4:6-9). From Paul’s perspective, Timothy was “a true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2).
Paul’s high regard for Timothy is also reflected in the following comment from his Biblical letter to the Philippian church…
“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” (Philippians 2:19-22 ESV).
This tells us that Timothy was “one of a kind” in his commitment to the welfare of the Philippian congregation. Timothy’s genuine interest in the Philippians’ well-being also made him different from others who held competing priorities. Paul went on to explain that difference by saying, “They all look after their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (RSV).
It can be rare to find those who follow Timothy’s good example and factor “what concerns Christ Jesus” (CEV) into their decisions. Unfortunately, it’s far more common to encounter others who first decide what’s best for themselves and then ask for God’s blessing upon their pre-determined course of action. Then there are some who look to God’s Word for direction but fail to put it into practice if it seems to involve an excessive degree of risk, sacrifice, conflict, or inconvenience.
Timothy was different- he was interested in knowing and advancing “the business of Jesus Christ” (Phillips). We can follow this good example by seeking God’s direction in prayer, reading His Word daily, and securing Godly counsel from pastoral leaders or other mature, God-honoring men and women in making decisions. Rather than attempting to fit God’s will into a pre-defined agenda, Timothy’s example tells us that it’s better to focus upon what God seeks to do in our lives first and then move forward on that basis.