On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 18: Timothy to the Rescue

“They all look after their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ….” (Philippians 2:21)

The Holy Apostle Paul had founded the church in the Greek city of Philippi. The Apostle sent a letter to that church that we have recorded in the New Testament. It is the Epistle to the Philippians. In this letter, St. Paul informs the people of that church that he intends to send Timothy to them. Timothy was a young candidate for the priesthood that the Saint is guiding along the path. He implies that Timothy was the only qualified person to come to them. What about others the Saint might send? This is what he said about them: “They all look after their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ!”

It seems that twenty centuries later, we still have the same problem.

To be a Christian is to be Christ-like. In Orthodox words, to be a Christian is to return to the image of God in which we were created, that image being clearly found in Christ. Yet many Christians, not to say Orthodox, do not have works that correspond to the name and image they bear. So many act as if they had never heard of God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. The majority follow the world’s lead in trying to make a name for themselves. They adopt a fully worldly outlook with all its dressed-up forms of self-indulgence. They follow their own plans and goals that rarely include the work of the Church.

Because the life and practices of the Church are not fully interwoven in so many lives, the Church is weak where it should be strong. How can so many for whom Christ came to this earth continue to enjoy His gifts so selfishly? Christ’s love and self-denial is without parallel. One would think that those same qualities would not only enter the lives of every Orthodox Christian, but that they would completely identify their interests with those of the Savior.

St. Paul apparently had some difficulty finding someone from his large flock to send to the Philippians. Thank God he found Timothy. Timothy (later, St. Timothy), was found to be qualified to do the work. So many others “… look after their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” Timothy was truly united with Christ. All who are united with Christ ought to feel the same love for the Church that caused the Son of God to leave His royal throne and for our sake became poor, that we through His poverty we might be made rich.

This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

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