‘’But you know yourselves that Timothy’s the real thing.’’ The Message.
I am reminded, as I read (19, 20) of Paul’s words in Romans 12:9a: ‘’Love must be sincere…’’ (‘’Love from the centre of who you are; don’t fake it.’’ The Message.).Timothy had an exemplary attitude. He was willing to serve Paul and put himself out for the benefit of others (see also 22) He had ‘’proved himself’’ in the eyes of Paul and the church. His excellent reputation was the same as his character. It was not the case that he was reputed to be something that he was not. His high standing in the Christian community was entirely appropriate.
Compare (21) with (2:4). Note how the ‘’interests…of Jesus Christ’’ are linked with the ‘’welfare’’ of the church. Jesus bought it with His own blood, so His heart is there, with His people. Whatever we do to the ‘least’ of Jesus’ brothers we do to Him.
When you think about the close bond between them (‘’…as a son with his father…’’) it must have been a sacrifice to Paul to release Timothy for other duties. This is an example, I believe, of Paul being willing to put the Philippians’ interests before his own. Someone said, ‘’People do what people see.’’ Timothy had seen a humble, sacrificing and unselfish spirit in his mentor, and it must have had a huge influence on him.
On (24) see (1:19, 25). Although the outcome of Paul’s imprisonment was not totally clear, he believed that he would be freed.
Our culture is rife with ‘Narcissism.’ According to mythology, Narcissus saw his reflection in a pool and fell in love with himself. That’s us, in the main. We are so self-focussed; self-absorbed. But when someone swims against the tide as Timothy did, and as Paul did, it is usually noticed and it is a powerful witness to Christ.
Prayer: Lord, I want to be ‘the real thing.’