Audio recording of a sermon from my series through Philippians.
As I continue the study series this week, “God Says I Am A Worker”, I’m reminded of a line I heard last week as my daughter was watching a recording of a “Seventh Heaven” episode. Throughout the series, the oldest son, Matt, seems to struggle with the concept of getting and keeping a job. This was the case in the episode I overheard. At one point, the dad, Rev. Camden, tells his son that there is an important lesson about work that he has yet to learn. After getting a job and getting fired and/or quitting it on the same day, Matt is curious about what this secret lesson might be. The answer is simple and straightforward: “Being an employee means that your number one goal is to make your employer look good.” To which Matt quickly responds, “I guess I’ll have to do a better job of selecting an employer next time!”
As I thought about that conversation, I couldn’t help but think of today’s text in this study series, Philippians 2:19-24.
“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with a father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.”
We see that Paul’s interest in how the Philippian Christians are doing causes him to make plans to send Timothy to get a first-hand report. Timothy is chosen because of those around Paul, there is no one like Timothy. Paul understood that Timothy would go, not to see what benefit he could gain or how he could be helped along in ministry, but with the purpose of concern for those he would visit. As I read this passage, it could have been written today — “For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” Our society is filled with messages that command us to “look out for number one”. We are told, “if you don’t take care of yourself, then nobody will”. So as a society, we raise up individuals who know nothing of genuine concern for another’s welfare.
Timothy had learned on a larger scale that lesson Rev. Camden wanted his son to know — As a worker, your number one priority is to make the one you work for look good! As a Christian, the One we work for is God. Who issues your paycheck and what you do occupationally isn’t the issue as much as who is really in charge of your life? Paul knew that Timothy was different than everyone else around him. Paul knew this because Timothy had learned those lessons of putting Jesus first and the needs of others ahead of his own from Paul himself. Timothy learned as a son to Paul, eager to imitate and please this “father” in his life.
Timothy’s diligence in serving with Paul in the work of the gospel, and even in serving Paul as a son, serves as an example for us. Will you and I allow God to transform our life in such a way that someone would write of us, “I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.”? For that to happen, we must refuse the trap of “looking out for our own interest” and wholeheartedly pursue the interests of Jesus.
I pray that you and I will be genuine workers for God, striving above all else to make the One we work for look good to our community, nation, and world.