19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to see you soon so that I may be encouraged by hearing about you. 20 I have no one like him. He is a person who genuinely cares about your well-being. 21 All the others put their own business ahead of Jesus Christ’s business. 22 You know his character, how he labors with me for the gospel like a son works with his father. 23 So he is the one that I hope to send as soon as I find out how things turn out here for me. 24 I trust in the Lord that I also will visit you soon.
I think most of us have an intuitive sense of how we fit into someone else’s agenda. I bet you’ve had the experience of thinking someone was genuinely interested in you when something happens – a question, a comment, a nagging feeling – that makes you begin to wonder. You begin to suspect that somehow you’re being used, and that there is perhaps another reason this person wanted to connect. Maybe they were looking to make a sale, gain access to your professional network, or have you do a favor for them. I often walk away from those interactions a bit less willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, my faith in people diminished.
The truly un-self-interested person sometimes seems impossible to find. But when you meet them, you immediately recognize their genuineness and goodness. Paul felt that way about his assistant, Timothy: “I have no one like him. He is a person who genuinely cares about his own well-being. All the others put their own business above Jesus Christ’s business.”
This phrase started me thinking about the question: “what exactly is Jesus Christ’s business?” I believe the answer is right there in Paul’s description of Timothy. It’s about care – caring for people. Wasn’t that Christ’s business while he walked this earth? To heal, feed, comfort, and teach – Jesus did all those things with no expectation of reward. In fact, he received no reward at all for his troubles, only a cross.
To care for others in an un-self-interested way, in a way that doesn’t expect anything in return, that doesn’t judge the recipient of that care, that doesn’t even expect any particular outcome – is one of the most difficult things that Christ asks of us. And yet, this is the business of Jesus Christ.
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Today, in interactions where you are helping or assisting someone else, take a moment to reflect on how you can be about “the business of Jesus Christ.” Is there something you hope, want, or expect to come out of your efforts, or are you genuinely concerned for the other’s welfare? While we may never be able to achieve a perfect care for someone else that is totally without self-interest, acknowledging our self-interest is an important first step.
Prayer: Today, help us to love others as you have loved us, caring for them in ways that put their needs at the center. Help us let go of our own agendas so that we can be fully present in the work and ministry of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.