Philippians 2:19-24 (MSG)
19 I plan (according to Jesus' plan) to send Timothy to you very soon so he can bring back all the news of you he can gather. Oh, how that will do my heart good! 20 I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you. 21 Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus. 22 But you know yourselves that Timothy's the real thing. He's been a devoted son to me as together we've delivered the Message. 23 As soon as I see how things are going to fall out for me here, I plan to send him off. 24 And then I'm hoping and praying to be right on his heels.
Chip Ingram in his book, Good to Great in God’s Eyes, reminds us that:
Good Christians live the Christian life. They love God, walk in integrity, demonstrate faithfulness to their mates, spend time in the Bible because they want to hear from God, make the effort to discover their spiritual gifts, use those gifts in their local church, give their tithes and offerings, go on mission trips, and help their kids grow up to be godly men and women. They do what God calls them to do, and they serve him well.
Great Christians, on the other hand, do all that and then pass it on. You can be a good Christian by obeying God and loving people, but if you haven’t poured your life into others, you life ends with a period. Great Christians end with a comma. They live the life of faith in a way that takes God’s grace to them and imparts it into the lives of others.
Timothy was Paul’s protégé. We can discern from the Philippian text that Timothy continued Paul’s work. Paul modeled Jesus because he knew that it would take others to continue the legacy of his work.
Greg Ogden in his book, Transforming Discipleship, says that Jesus’
...destiny was the cross. He was a man born to die. Yet converging on that moment would be the necessity of having his disciples prepared to carry on his mission after his resurrection and return to the Father. To get the disciples ready, Jesus played a series of important roles, commensurate with the disciples’ preparedness.”
At stage one, early in his ministry, Jesus was a living example. The disciples watched him carefully and therefore began to absorb his message and his ministry.
At stage two, Jesus was a provocative educator. Jesus’ intent was not only to inform the disciples of a new Kingdom perspective but also to dislodge the wrong-headed idea and assumptions that they had picked up from a religious and secular world in rebellion against God.
At stage three, Jesus was a supportive coach. The disciples were sent on a short-term mission within Jesus’ clear parameters, knowing that he was there for supportive debriefing upon their return.
At stage four, Jesus was the ultimate delegator. The disciples had internalized enough to survive their scattering at Jesus’ crucifixion, to be regrouped after the resurrection and empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. His ministry had become theirs.
Someone said that our goal should be to “let Christ increase while we decrease.” So who’s your protégé? Who are you mentoring? Who will you help so the message of God’s love through Jesus Christ will continue into the future? Think about it.
Chip Ingram, Good to Great in God’s Eyes: Ten Practices Great Christians Have in Common (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007), 189.
“The Thrill of Skill” (Homiletics Online, January 1, 2005), 8-9.