Have you ever had to create a resume? If you have ever had to apply for a job then you would have. Do you remember what you put in?
If you go online there are an endless number of pages telling you what you ought to put in your resume. It is a summary of who you are and why an employer should consider you for a position. In it you include things like your experience, achievements and skills.
In Philippians Paul is writing to a church he knows and loves. Towards the end of chapter 2 he tells them that he is intending to come back soon, he is returning Epaphroditus whom they had sent to support Paul, and he is also sending a young leader to serve them. Timothy.
Timothy is relatively unknown to them. So what does Paul write on Timothy’s resume for the Philippians?
“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their 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. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me.” (Philippians 2: 19-23).
Did you notice what Paul does not talk about? No mention of Timothy’s credentials, his gifts, his skills in rhetoric, his family connections or previous work experience. Paul recommends Timothy on the basis of his character. His servanthood, his focus on others, and his genuine care for the Philippians.
This is what impresses Paul. For arguably the foremost Christian leader of his time, it is the character of the leader which is most important to him. So much so that he recommends Timothy to Philippi on the basis of this, and he willingly invests in his time and energy into developing the character of Timothy.
Paul’s actions raise at least two questions:
What are you most focused on? Your experience, credential, resume or your character? If the latter, how are you seeking to cultivate a more Christ honouring character?
Who is your Timothy? Who are you investing in so that they might become the man or woman of character? Paul, despite all the pressures on his time and energy found time to invest in Timothy, how about you?