“For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. . . . . But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel,” Philippians 2:20-22.
Paul wrote to the Philippian brethren who loved him and cared greatly for his welfare. He was in prison at this time and intended to comfort the worrying church. He wanted to send them his best and most trusted disciple, Timothy, who had adopted Paul as his spiritual father. He and Timothy had bonded, carrying the gospel to the world. Timothy had learned from Paul how to preach the gospel in Spirit and truth. He had discipled himself to Paul to learn the ministry from the inside looking out. Paul was proud of his son in the faith, and he believed that, if he sent Timothy, it would be just as though Paul himself had come. But, since Paul was in prison, he needed Timothy to stay and minister to his needs. Paul bragged on Timothy, “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Phil. 2:21).
It is wisdom for inexperienced workers to disciple themselves to wise adults who have been in the trenches long enough to know the standards of excellence, and who will not let them waiver toward work that is less than their best. Moses was confident to pass the baton of leadership to Joshua because Joshua had stepped in Moses’ every footprint, learning to be brave and true, leading the Lord’s sheep through the wilderness of despair into the paradise of Canaan.
Timothy was Paul’s disciple, and he cared not who knew it.