A Few Lessons from Paul and Timothy
Philippians 1:1 (ESV) “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons…”
The book of Philippians, as most Bible students know, is filled with the most joyous tone. In other words, Paul is happy — and you can see his expressions of happiness all throughout this small letter.
But there is perhaps something we might overlook that attributes to Paul’s joy in the penning of this letter, and that something is actually someone — Timothy. “Paul and Timothy.” Timothy was a great comfort to Paul. In fact, Paul frequently mentions Timothy as a “son in the faith” and that there is no one “as liked-minded in the ministry” as him. They were ministry-bound together on a journey that would quite literally change the course of history. They were determined to serve together for the glory of Christ. It wasn’t about the smoke and lights of fame that mainstream ministry can often bring. It was about the simplicity of their friendship together to seek the wellfare of the church and the saving of the lost.
I find their relationship together throughout the New Testament inspiring. There are several things we can take away from their example.
- We have a family in the household of God. As far as we know, Paul was a single man and there isn’t any evidence to support that Timothy had a wife and children either. Yet, together they were like father and son. The church is an incredible organism that was ordained much like family life. The people of God are our family and the bonds that can exist there can be just as powerful as blood-related bonds -sometimes even closer. As a Christian, you never have to walk this life alone and without a family. In fact, it should be just about impossible for you to. We are family under the redemption of Christ.
- We are unified supernaturally. In many ways, Paul and Timothy would seem incompatible with one another. Paul was born and raised a Hebrew of Hebrews, but Timothy had a Greek father. Paul was Scripture smart while Timothy was street smart. Paul was older while Timothy was much younger. Yet, on the common ground of the gospel, they are supernaturally unified in a bond that would seem impossible -yet possible through the gospel. You see, the church not only provides us with an extended family to enjoy, but it also produces the ability to be unified in ways that are not naturally possible. There is a “unity of the Spirit” that exists as it comes from the Holy Spirit who resides in each one of us. Our common ground is the gospel, and that’s all the common ground we need to work together.
- We are servants together. You’ll notice that Paul does not designate himself in a higher position than Timothy, even though Paul was an Apostle with direct authority from Jesus Christ and Timothy was not. Instead you see Paul say, “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus.” Paul understood that his calling as an apostle made him no less of a servant and no more of a man than any other fellow believer in Christ. What an example that is for all of us. While Christ has established an order of authority in the church, He has not established a heirarchy. There is no pastor or thought leader on this earth who is less of a servant or more of a man than the people of God. There is no such thing as Christian rockstars -just servants together.
Romans 12:10–13 (ESV) Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.