The apostle Paul had a guy working for him that was a pretty admirable employee by today’s standard. In fact, by any cultural standard, any time period or any profession, Paul’s right hand man Timothy would be eligible for promotion and should be considered for a raise. In tough economic times he would probably be one of the few who didn’t get laid off. Did Timothy have some issues that probably made their way to his employee file? Yes. But, he did possess the characteristics that most companies are looking for today.
We find a great description of him in Philippians 2
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
Let me make some observations about Timothy that I think has some application in today’s work force.
1)Timothy was a Faithful Ambassador of the Company- One characteristic of a great employee is their connection with the company line. When they are by themselves (or in Tim’s case- are sent away for company business) they are a faithful ambassador. Do you understand what your company stands for? Most companies have a noble reason for its existence. I am reminded of a story I heard about Brett Farve recently. As you sports fans know, the long term Green Bay Packer quarterback is now playing for the New York Jets. As the story goes, Farve was questioned by the Jets head coach about the values and purpose statement of the Jets and if he answered correctly, the team would get some additional time off. To the coach’s surprise and the teams great pleasure (the article says the room erupted with cheers) he answered all the questions correctly because he had been studying his new teams culture. How can you be a faithful ambassador of your company if you don’t know what its mission is? And if you cannot with good conscience represent the mission of your employer, you need to find a new company!
2)Timothy took Genuine Interest in Other People- There is nothing worse than working alongside a self seeking, self serving individual whose narcissism has no bounds. In this day and age companies are looking for people who get along. In fact, the cream of the crop will not only be able to get along but will be able to create an environment where collaboration and commitment to the team exists. This will only occur as you take a genuine interest in others. You have to get to know others to understand what is in their best interest and true team occurs as you take other’s interest to heart. This will not happen overnight and in many companies never happens, but great employees and employers for that matter are other’s conscious. Maybe not other’s centered but at least concerned about the well being of their fellow workers.
3)Timothy was looking out for the Bosses best interest– I am not talking about a brown nosing yes-man kind of person. But, a sincere connection with what the leaders of his company were trying to do. In this case we see that Tim’s real boss was not Paul but rather Jesus. Paul says, “Everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ”. One of the characteristics that most bosses’ are looking for is someone who understands what the leaders are trying to do and pulls with the team. That doesn’t mean that you don’t give input related to a new direction, but it does mean that once a clear direction has been established you grab your part of the rope and pull. And for the record, a person of faith should do his work as for the Lord. Listen to what Paul says in Colossians Chapter 3: 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving
4)Timothy was a Proven Producer- My current boss has a saying that I think is pretty good. He says, “the good news is that your compensation is determined by your performance, and the bad news is your compensation is determined by your performance.” Paul said that Timothy “has proved himself”. People get paid to do something. Money does not grow on trees and there is a reason that your employer gives you a check. At the end of the week, month or year, have you added value that matters to the bottom line of the company? Now that is not to say that good workers don’t get ousted, downsized and pink-slipped, but great workers produce over time. Independent of whether you keep a specific job, as a worker you must produce and that ability to make things happen will be invaluable to whomever you work for. You can be a proven producer too!
Now Timothy may or may not of been interested in the bottom lines of our companies. But, he was interested in the bottom line of his. That’s what makes him an example for all of us. Did he get a raise? I don’t know, but he deserved one. At least a cost of living raise! Keep plugging! Your faithfulness is noticed. Maybe not by your employer like you want him/her to, but God does see everything you do to move your company forward.