February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.”—Philippians 2:19–24 (NKJV)
Each epistle has its own particular tone or “flavor.” Some are more corrective (see Galatians and 1 Corinthians), while others tend to be more instructive and theological (see Romans and Ephesians). This is because each letter was written to deal with a particular issue or need of its audience, and these were different from audience to audience. Collectively, they add up to cover the full range of what the Church of God needs through every spiritual season. But as we come to the epistle to the Philippians, one can’t help but pick up on the tone being notably personable and encouraging. In other words, Philippians has a very friendly feel.
While Paul had a deep love for everyone he ever wrote to, he was on especially friendly terms with the Philippian Christians. We see powerful evidence of this here in his epistle to them as he reveals his plan to send Timothy to them as his own personal representative. Now, this was a big deal, because Timothy was at the very top of the list of people who were important to Paul. He even mentions this in no uncertain terms by declaring, “I have no one like-minded.” In other words, nobody “got” Paul more than Timothy. So, by sending Timothy, he was sending the Philippians his very best.
Let’s take this to yet another level by recognizing that we tend to establish our sense of value according to our personal relationships. As we mature, we realize that things don’t matter as much as they seemed to when we were younger. Christmas becomes less about the gifts under the tree and more about the loved ones who gave them. This is fitting, because it reflects God’s nature. He values people and relationships above all else. So, we become more like Him as we prioritize people.
Now, overlay this principle onto this passage. By sending the Philippians his most valued ally and friend, Paul is making a strong statement on how much he valued them. He’s demonstrating in the most meaningful way that they’re a priority to him; otherwise, he wouldn’t be sending Timothy to them!
When people are a priority to us, it’s going to show. Among other things, it will show in what we’re willing to sacrifice for them. Paul sacrificed his closest companion because he knew it would benefit believers who were wanting to grow in God’s grace. This begs some questions: Are we prioritizing people? What are we willing to sacrifice on their behalf? What are we willing to let go of because we place more value in the relationships that will be blessed as a result?
Pause: What’s the significance of Paul’s plan to send Timothy to the Philippians?
Practice: Take some time to reflect on whether or not people are a growing priority in your life. How might you mature in this aspect?
Pray: Lord, I ask Your Spirit would continue to fill me with Your love for people, that I would see and value them as You do and demonstrate this in what I’m willing to sacrifice for them, even as You did for me. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.