Genuine concern

Genuine concern

For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. – Philippians 2:20 

Philippians 2:20-21

 20 I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare.

 21 All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ.

The contestants in the Special Olympics are developmentally or physically disabled. But they are special in a far more important way. They have genuine care and concern for one another. In the Special Olympics, in the 100 meter dash, the runners all start together and move together down the track shoulder-to-shoulder.

During one of these races, a young woman tripped and sprawled headlong on the track. She was in some amount of pain and rather embarrassed.

The rest of the contestants moved on for a few more feet. Without any communication among themselves, they all stopped, turned around, and jogged back to their fallen friend. They picked her up and took her off the track, comforted her. Then and only then did they continue on together, arm in arm, to the finish line. These special runners would rather finish together than win individually.

One, and only one, of Paul’s friends was just like that.

Paul wrote the book of Philippians while he was a prisoner in Rome. He had heard good things about the believers in Philippi and was eager to learn more. He wanted to share his appreciation and affection for them. He wanted to send a small group of fellow believers to them. He looked for volunteers. Apparently, there were only two who showed any interest at all, Timothy and Epaphroditus. Why was that so?

Paul knew firsthand all of the believers who were part of the local church in Rome. Actually, he knew them too well. They were not just self-centered; they were pathetically self-centered. They were only concerned about their own interests.

I can hear the whining now: “Philippi, you want us to go to Philippi? Do you know how far away Philippi is? We would have to walk the whole way or possibly take a boat part of the way and then walk the rest of the way. The trip would be long, hard, time-consuming, expensive, and hot. What’s in it for us? Not to mention the possibility of been eaten by lions or mugged by thieves and robbers. Oh, and I forgot to mention the dangers of pirates, being shipwrecked, or being marooned on Malta.”

The Romans were nothing but motorboat believers, “but, but, but, but” (as Charles Stanley so often says).

REFLECT & PRAY

The Father examines all of His children carefully, looking for the few special ones who are genuinely concerned with the needs of others.

Father I long to be like Paul and Timothy, and ultimately like You. I long to be “a chip off the old block,” Your block.

INSIGHT

Why was Timothy different? After a process of observing, learning, and maturing, Timothy finally got his priorities straight. His life was to be a life of service. He was all in! He had one all-consuming passion, to serve Paul and the Lord Jesus Christ. He was ready to go anywhere, anytime, and do whatever it took to fulfill his appointed responsibilities. Further, he was quite content being number two, to Paul’s number one. He was more than willing to be in the background, working from the shadows.

He was genuinely interested in the spiritual and physical well-being of others. Paul modeled this attitude in his words and actions time and time again. Timothy wanted to be just like Paul. Paul wanted to be just like the Lord Jesus Christ.

No one instantaneously becomes a mature and devoted servant. A submissive mind does not appear suddenly or automatically in any child of the King. It has to be cultivated and developed. Why? Because it is not natural to be a servant! It is natural to desire to be served (Wiersbe). But as Timothy grew to maturity, walked with the Father, and worked with Paul, “he became the kind of servant that Paul could trust and God could bless” (Wiersbe).

Paul did not merely say that he and Timothy were “like-minded.” Rather, he said that, he and Timothy were “like-souled.” All true servants of the King are “like-souled.” This is one of the instances where examining the original Greek, adds layers of depth, beauty, and color not seen in the English translation.

The Greek term translated of kindred spirit or like him is isopsuchos. It is derived from isos – equal, and psuche – soul, mind. It means to be equal in soul, activated by the same motives, character, affections, or sharing the same mindset. The Latin Vulgate translates the Greek isopsuchos with the Latin term unanimous. In modern English, we might say Timothy was “a chip off the old block.” Paul was his block. Paul was also “a chip off the old block,” the Lord Jesus Christ was Paul’s block.

One of the components of becoming a link in the Father’s chain of service, is a genuine concern for the well-being of others. Such concern is not only real and sincere, but it actually becomes second nature. To genuinely serve the needs of others becomes natural and the new normal for all children of the King who become His committed servants. Serving others as Lord Jesus Christ serves us, is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do. There are many hardships, difficulties, and obstacles. Often service to the King involves persecution, verbal, and physical abuse.

But the joy of being a “good and faithful servant” cannot be measured (Matthew 25:23).

Each and every child of the King can aspire to be “a chip off the old block,” like-souled. It is a lofty goal to aspire after. How are your aspirations?

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.

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