Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 4, 2011

your gift is you

How many people need the gift of you? Oh, I’m not talking about the sarcastic phrase kids used to say; “He thinks He’s God’s gift to the world”. Those words reflect pride, arrogance and selfishness. On the contrary, the gift of you and I should be one of humility, caring and selflessness. These thoughts are born out of some reading that I have been doing from the book of Philippians. Scattered all across the verses of chapter two was a focus on others. The apostle Paul wastes no time in conveying the thought that Christ-followers should live esteeming others better than ourselves and not looking out just for our own interests, but also the interests of others. Talk about a gift worth giving!

Moving through this wonderful chapter solidifies Paul’s premise. He begins with the ultimate Giver. Christ came to earth, was born of a virgin and became obedient unto death for our salvation. His was the ultimate gift of selflessness, servant-hood and caring ever presented. But the chapter continued with other focused principles that I believe to be helpful for us all. From the way Paul writes to the believers at Philippi, to his inclusion of Timothy and Epaphroditus, we are given awesome examples of men who didn’t just focus on their own needs. What a gift to give!

Timothy (I wonder if anyone called him Tim) is someone you have read about. You have probably even read the two books of the Bible bearing his name. But do you really know him? When Paul sent Timothy to the Philippians, he was still likely a young man. His name meant “God honoring” and he certainly lived up it. From my study, it can be assumed that he was rather frail, with some stomach issues and was also probably a bit introverted. With those characteristics, it would be easy to understand if he would have focused primarily on himself. But he had a tender heart, and others were important to him. He gave the gift of himself!

Philippians 2:19-24 (MSG)
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! I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you. Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus. 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. As soon as I see how things are going to fall out for me here, I plan to send him off. And then I’m hoping and praying to be right on his heels.

Paul wanted to send someone to the Philippians to get some news. His telling words set Timothy apart; I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you. Most people around here are looking out for themselves…. When Timothy could have been just like everyone else, he wasn’t. Others mattered to him. There is not space to write about it fully, but I also believe that Timothy was a great source of comfort and care to the Apostle Paul.

You and I live in a culture driven by selfishness. Few people in your life have understood that caring for others is a gift worth giving. But you and I have a responsibility, as Christ-followers, to be other-centered. Timothy, an introvert, stepped out and cared for others, and God was honored. People in your world need someone to care like Timothy. Are others important to you? Look around you, and this Christmas, give the gift of you!

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