Example of Mentorship
19 Now I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon so that I too may be encouraged by news about you. 20 For I have no one else like-minded who will genuinely care about your interests; 21 all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know his proven character, because he has served with me in the gospel ministry like a son with a father. 23 Therefore, I hope to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 I am confident in the Lord that I myself will also come soon. (Philippians 2:19-24)
From verse 19 to the end of the chapter, we shift away from for a moment from typical instruction found in biblical letters and get a glimpse of some day-to-day ministry life, and from it, see the importance of good mentorship. Remember from Philippians 1:1 that Paul is not alone while he is in prison in Rome writing this letter, but he is accompanied by Timothy. In verse 19 here, we see that as soon as finds out what his legal situation will be, he will send out his mentee, Timothy, to find out more details on how the church at Philippi is doing and what else they need prayer for.
Verse 20, Paul gives a personal recommendation of why he is sending Timothy, “For I have no one else like-minded who will genuinely care about your interests.” Just like Paul, Timothy genuinely cared for the people. As Anders states, “[Timothy] ministered not to fulfill ambition and needs for personal success. He ministered to meet needs of the church people.”
Then, in verse 21, Paul states in the negative that others would have “seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” Because of sin, human nature tends to be self-seeking, stemming from pride. Yet, Christ came to the earth to serve, taking the position of a humble servant. In the same manner, Timothy being mentored by Paul, was instilled with the same aspiration to follow Christ and have that servant humble mindset.
Verse 22, Paul states that even the church at Philippi know of Timothy’s outstanding character and testimony, “But you know his proven character, because he has served with me in the gospel ministry like a son with a father.” This track record of service can be even seen in how Paul sent out Timothy to the church at Corinth, in 1 Corinthians 4:17, “This is why I have sent Timothy to you. He is my dearly loved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you about my ways in Christ Jesus, just as I teach everywhere in every church.” Historically, we do not know if Paul had a family or children, but here, we see that Paul and Timothy’s relationship of mentorship is very close, like a father and son relationship.
Finally, with verses 23 and 24, Paul still needs Timothy here while he awaits his legal processes, but Paul has hope in a positive outcome awaiting the Lord’s will, “Therefore, I hope to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. I am confident in the Lord that I myself will also come soon.” May we be inspired by this relationship of mentorship between Paul and Timothy, to do the same, discipling the next generation of believers, having Christ-centered attitudes of humility and learning together, and equipping them to send them out to do ministry work.
Isaac De Guzman