Go read Philippians 2:19-30.
<> Who are the men in the passage?
<> What is celebrated about these men?
I think we could just take a week of these blog posts and simplify them a lot. At the top of the post I could put, “Jesus is calling us to be selfless. Meditate and obey.” Selflessness is huge and needs to soak deep into our souls and not just be a surface, cognitive, knowledge-based idea.
<> What is your immediate reaction to the word selflessness?
<> In your life is selflessness the opposite of what you’re all about, an unachievable goal, an impractical dream, or something you actually trust Jesus wants to work out in your life – today – right now, etc.?
If you answered the first question of today’s post “Timothy and Epaphroditus” you’re not wrong. Those are the two main men talked about in the passage but I think the other two men in the passage are even more impressive examples and models.
<> Second try: other than Timothy and Epaphroditus, who are the other two men in this passage?
We’ll look at Paul first. The Scripture is not perfectly clear whether Paul knew what he was doing or just accidentally and inspired by the Spirit did something beautiful. Remember what Paul celebrates so much in Timothy? “I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.” Paul celebrates how selfless Timothy is in looking to Jesus and serving others selflessly rather than looking out for his own interests. Here’s what is so beautiful about the passage. At the exact same time that Paul celebrates selflessness in Timothy, Paul also models selflessness as he sends Timothy to the Philippians. Paul is in prison/house arrest. He’s alone. He just finished saying “I’ve got nobody like Timothy who gets it!” And then he sends Timothy to the Philippians. Selfless.
<> Are you selfless with people in your life?
<> Do you love to see people you love and who have loved and served with you get the opportunity to love other people and serve with them, or does selfish jealousy steal your joy?
The entire picture of this passage is intricately awesome. Paul lists ONE reason that Timothy is not selfish and ONE way that offers freedom from selfishness: Jesus. Common men look to their own interests – not to Jesus’ interests. Timothy looks to Jesus’ interests – not his own interests. Trying to become selfless on your own is impossible. Defining what you don’t want to be with no positive goal to move towards will inevitably be a fruitless venture.
Jesus was a selfless man. No doubt. But how though? He submitted to the authority of His Father.
Go read Luke 22:42, John 4:31-34, John 14:23-24 and John 15:10.
Obedience to the Father is the heartbeat of selflessness. Learning to listen to Him and obey His commands is both how you fall in love with Him and fall in love with people He is putting in your life. In doing so you align yourself with Jesus, Paul and Timothy – you begin the process of becoming a rare man.