Timothy, Paul’s trusted co-worker

Posted Sep 18, 2020

Share This

Daily Scripture

We encourage you to read all of Philippians 2 each day this week. As you do today, focus on verses 19-24, printed below.

Philippians 2:19-24

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.

Reflection Questions

The apostle Paul never had a son, as far as we know. Timothy came remarkably close to filling that place in his life, as verse 22 indicated. Acts 16:1-3 told of Paul meeting Timothy and choosing him to join his traveling party, and shortly after that came Paul’s first visit to Philippi. The Philippian Christians already knew Timothy, but Paul included this glowing note of recommendation as he planned to send his younger associate to see to their physical and spiritual well-being in person.

  • Scholar N. T. Wright wrote, “It is interesting that he doesn’t say ‘Timothy is a wonderful teacher’, or even ‘Timothy is a very devout and holy man’, but, ‘Timothy will genuinely care about you’. The definition Paul seems to be adopting for a good pastor… has more to do with sheer unselfish love.”* It seems Paul would agree with the saying that “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” How have you seen this play out in church, in workplaces, schools and families?
  • Verses 23 and 24 remind us, again, that Paul was in prison, and that he was not certain what the outcome would be. The emotional backdrop of Paul’s fourfold repetition of “glad” in yesterday’s reading (cf. Philippians 2:17-18) was, “I might be set free, or I might be executed.” How can you use Paul’s example to help you deal with uncertain situations (which we all face right now)?


Lord Jesus, your whole story reflected that God genuinely cares about my well-being. Timothy learned to live out your attitude toward others. Keep growing my capacity to do that, too. Amen.

* Wright, N.T., Paul for Everyone, The Prison Letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 109). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

Looking for GPS Insights? Scroll to the top of this page and click the GPS Insights tab!

GPS Guide

Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey. If you have a question or comment about the GPS Guide, please send it to GPS@cor.org.

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 7th-grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group and a men’s group, and serves on the curriculum team.

As noted in today’s passage, Paul, who has been a whirlwind of activity & writing throughout the evangelizing stage of his career, is recognizing during his imprisonment that he also needs to mentor Timothy & the next generation of leaders in the faith.

During our Small Group gathering on our front porch last Sunday evening, we discussed the importance of mentoring & leaving a legacy as we chatted about the lives of Theodore & Belle Naish.

Aside: Someone left a bunch of random LEGOS on our porch last Saturday. I don’t know what to make of it.

Mr. Naish was born in 1856 in Birmingham, England. He immigrates to Kansas City & is employed as a draftsman. Theodore loved hiking the wooded hills overlooking the Kansas River near Edwardsville, Kansas & eventually buys 147 acres there. (Near the intersection of K-32 & I-435.)

Aside: I once went on a hike that just meandered – no lake, no waterfalls, no beautiful vistas, nothing. I definitely wouldn’t recommend hiking to Moot Point again.

While hiking around Edwardsville, Theodore is invited to attend the Edwardsville United Methodist Church. The church is small & doesn’t have a full-time pastor, so Theodore volunteers to preach & to teach a Sunday school class for the children each week.

In 1911, Theodore goes on a trip to Detroit, Michigan & meets a schoolteacher named Belle Saunders. They fall in love & settle back in Edwardsville, Kansas. He was 55 & she was 45-years-old. They were known for taking long hikes through the woods & enjoying picnics on the rocky bluffs overlooking the Kansas River.

In 1915, Theodore takes Belle on a belated honeymoon to England, so he can show off his bride to his family. They board an English passenger liner, the R.M.S. Lusitania. (Think back to your U.S. History class.) England & Germany were at war & a German torpedo strikes the ship. Amidst the chaos, Belle & Theodore help their fellow passengers get onto the lifeboats. (Many survivors attested to the Naish’s bravery.)

The Naishs hold each other’s hands as they wait for their lifeboat. Another torpedo hits the Lusitania & Belle is violently tossed high into the air & plummets deep into the waves. She floats back up & is helped into a lifeboat by another passenger. Theodore is nowhere to be found. Belle stays in Ireland for several weeks trying to locate Theodore. His body is never recovered. He is one of 1,198 passengers killed in the attack. Belle returns to Edwardsville – alone.

In 1924, an international tribune is established to seek compensation from Germany for the crime of sinking the Lusitania. The commission record states “…Theodore Naish was physically strong & mentally alert & that he & his wife were very congenial & in a modest way led an unusually wholesome life. They were accustomed to take together long walks into the country, & it is abundantly proven that after walking 10 or so miles neither showed fatigue.”1 Germany was forced to pay Belle $12,500 for the life of Theodore & $780 for lost belongings. (If I faced such a commission today, I’d probably pull out my billfold & just say, “Um, so, what do I owe you?”)

Interesting story, but you might be politely asking, “So what?” Their tale isn’t quite done. In 1927, Belle officially deeds their beloved land to the Boy Scouts as a memorial to her husband & the 1st formal Camp Naish is held in 1928. (Scouts could stay a week at the camp for $7.00 - $5.00 if they brought their own food.) Since then, over 500,000 youngsters have been able to enjoy swimming, hiking, archery, climbing towers, & learning to appreciate wildlife & nature thanks to the Naish’s legacy.

Perhaps we can be inspired by Paul & let our minds escape our 24-hour news cycle prison cell to begin to look to mentoring the future generation. Maybe we could then be inspired by Theodore & Belle & ask ourselves what are our passions? How might we think outside the box to develop these passions to actively guide our current generation & positively influence the future? Imagine the inward joy that we could experience as we begin to dream of the possibilities?

The Naish’s tombstone, dedicated in Edwardsville in 1950 upon Belle’s death, depicts the outline of a passenger liner engulfed in smoke & is marked every year with a wreath laid by local Scouts. Sometimes, we are tempted to think that a gravestone is the end of one’s life story. However, as in the case of Theodore & Belle, it was just the beginning. So, what will our story be?

PS: Young Cub Scouts swear that if you wake up in the night & are really still, you can hear the leaves rustling as Belle & Theodore go on a nighttime hike, hand-in-hand. (More than likely, though, it’s probably just raccoons munching on the crusts of discarded PB&J sandwiches & stray Cheetos.)

Here's a picture of Jacob's vintage Camp Naish T-Shirt:


Looking for GPS Guide? Scroll to the top of this page and click the GPS Guide tab!