Philippians 2:21
For all the others look after their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
Beauty of UnselfishnessT. De Witt Talmage.Philippians 2:21
Disinterested ServiceJ. B. J. Tinling, B. A.Philippians 2:21
DisinterestednessPhilippians 2:21
Giant SelfJ. H. Wilson, D. D.Philippians 2:21
Seeking Our Own ThingsJ. Guyse, D. D.Philippians 2:21
Selfishness CommonPlutarch.Philippians 2:21
Self-SeekingJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 2:21
The Beauty of UnselfishnessJ. H. Wilson, D. D.Philippians 2:21
The Duty of UnselfishnessJ. H. Wilson, D. D.Philippians 2:21
The Evil of Self-SeekingJ. Guyse, D. D.Philippians 2:21
The Mission of TimothyT. Croskery Philippians 2:19-23
The True Spirit of Christian UsefulnessD. Thomas Philippians 2:19-24
Christian FriendshipJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 2:19-30
Christian IntercourseJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 2:19-30
Christian Mutual HappinessL. O. Thompson.Philippians 2:19-30
Paul, Timothy, and EpaphroditusA. Raleigh, D. D.Philippians 2:19-30
The Considerate Missions of Epaphroditus and TimothyR.M. Edgar Philippians 2:19-30
The Mission of TimothyJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 2:19-30
The Value of a True ComforterH. W. Beecher.Philippians 2:19-30
Timothy and EpaphroditusR. Finlayson Philippians 2:19-30
Two Characters, Representing Two Aspects of Christian WorkV. Hutton Philippians 2:19-30
Care for SoulsDean Hook.Philippians 2:20-21
Concern for the Spiritual Wants of MenE. Payson, D. D.Philippians 2:20-21
FailuresDean Church.Philippians 2:20-21
Missionary AgencyJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 2:20-21
Natural Care for OthersPhilippians 2:20-21
The Care of a Good Pastor for His PeopleN. Emmons, D. D.Philippians 2:20-21
The Experience of IsolationDean Vaughan.Philippians 2:20-21
The apostle comforts the Philippians with the intimation that, if he cannot himself visit them, he will send them Timothy, who was already well known to them all.


1. To comfort his own heart. "That I also may be of good heart, when I know your state." The apostle had a tender anxiety respecting the best beloved of all the Churches.

2. To give them guidance for Timothy was one who would "naturally care for their state" with an almost instinctive devotion to their interests.


1. They already known Timothy's devotion to the apostle and to the gospel of Christ. "But ye know the proof of him, that, as a child serveth a father, so he served with me in furtherance of the gospel." When the apostle was at Philippi, Timothy - "mine own son in the faith" - was his congenial assistant, obeying his counsel, and imitating his example, in everything that tended to the edification of the Church.

2. There was no other helper with the apostle at the time possessed of the same quick sympathy with their state as Timothy. "For I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state: for they all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ."

(1) The apostle contrasts Timothy with other preachers or evangelists, who sought their own advantage rather than the honor of Christ. He had had sad experience of alienation, halfheartedness, and selfishness in the very circle of the evangelistic companionship. A man's own things may be different from the things of Christ. The highest life is where our interests are identical with the interests of Christ. God will disappoint all other interests.

(2) He commends the anxious concern of Timothy on their behalf.

(a) It was a concern for their spiritual state.

(b) It was, as the word imports, an anxious care on their behalf, testifying at once to his own personal interest in their welfare and to his profound appreciation of the worth of immortal souls.

(c) It was a concern natural to one inheriting the interests and the affections of his spiritual father.

(d) It was implanted in his soul by the Lord himself; for it was with him as with Titus; "Thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus" (2 Corinthians 8:16). - T.C.

For all seek their own




(J. Lyth, D. D.)


1. Their own things — the things of this life; so called —(1) Because they belonged to them by providential disposal and civil right.(2) Some might call them so by a new covenant tenure so far as they used them to just and laudable purposes.(3) 'Twas well if others did not make them their own in a criminal sense, using them only for themselves, for self-indulgence.

2. The things of Jesus Christ: things of His kingdom.(1) The things of His glory, of which He is the object.(2) The things of our salvation, of which He is the author.

II. A SINFUL DISPOSITION WITH REGARD TO THESE THINGS. "Seek" indicates the temper of the soul in contrivances and desires, and the actings of the life in its endeavours.

1. Some sought their own things, and not at all the things of Christ.

2. Others sought their own more than His.

III. THE SUBJECT OF THIS DISPOSITION. "All" has special but not exclusive reference to ministers: for carnality in ministers usually spreads its contagion among the people; and the apostle afterwards speaks of both ministers and people as deeply infected with it when at the first summons of his second imprisonment they were so fearful of their secular interests that none dared publicly to own him (2 Timothy 4:16).

(J. Guyse, D. D.)


1. When we seek them in opposition or disservice to the things of Christ (John 11:47-53; Acts 19:27-29).(1) This spirit has acted under the Christian name; it still works in the Papal tyranny, and in those Protestants whose persecuting spirit substitutes a kingdom of this world in the room of Christ's.(2) Where ever this spirit prevails it eats out the power of godliness or suppresses it in others (Luke 22:24-26).

2. When we seek our own to the neglect of Christ's (Acts 18:17; Matthew 22:5; John 5:44).

3. When we seek our own more than Christ's (Matthew 13:20-22). Some seek them only in such ways and at such times as will cost them little expense or trouble.

4. When we seek our own so as to hinder our seeking Christ's. (i) We sometimes seek our own with such eagerness of spirit as puts us out of tune for spiritual things, and when we have been employed in spiritual work, a too hasty return to the world, and a too eager application to the things of it defaces promising impressions (Matthew 13:22).(2) At other times we are unreasonably employed in our own things where we ought to be engaged in the worship of God (Luke 10:40-42).

5. When there is too much of self secretly twisting itself into what we do for Christ (Zechariah 7:5-6; Philippians 1:15-16).(1) Some seek the things of Christ only for their own worldly interests, from secular views, to make a livelihood or to conciliate favour (Ezekiel 33:31).(2) Others seek their own honour, and the gratification of their own pride, to recommend their learning, piety, or zeal (2 Kings 10:16; Matthew 23:5-7).(3) The like sin we are guilty of when we are zealous for notions of our own, because they are our own and exalt our reason, or because they suit the general taste (Galatians 1:9-10; Galatians 6:12-14).(4) When we set up our own righteousness instead of Christ's to recommend us to God's acceptance (Romans 9:30-32), or lean on our own strength and not on Christ's for spiritual performances (1 Corinthians 1:29-31; Isaiah 45:24-25).(5) Others seek an indulgence in their own passions and pleasures, seeking the things of Christ as a cloak for them, or as a salve to conscience.

6. When we put no respect to Christ on our own things (Colossians 3:23-24).(1) All our abilities should have a reference to Him that He may be glorified (1 Corinthians 6:20).(2) We should seek His love and favour that we may taste them with a sweeter relish as the purchase of His blood and branches of new covenant mercies.


1. Consider the excellence of Christ's things above all our own.(1) They have a substantial worth and real goodness in them as derived from His glorious Person (Hebrews 1:3; 2 Corinthians 3:18).(2) There is all-comprehensive goodness to fill up our vastest capacities with complete satisfaction (Proverbs 8:20-21), and to ennoble them.(3) What are our own in comparison? They are empty, perishing, some debasing, will not profit in the clay of wrath.(4) What folly then to prefer broken cisterns (Jeremiah 2:13).

2. Consider how unsuitable this is to our character as Christians.(1) We are disciples of Christ, and profess to make of Him our all.(2) We are strangers and pilgrims, and profess to have our portion above.

3. Consider the abundant care and grace with which Christ has sought our things — our everlasting peace and salvation (2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:6-8; Philippians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 John 4:19).

4. Consider the danger of seeking our own in preference to Christ's.(1) The more distance there will be between Christ and us.(2) The more open we shall be to temptation.(3) The less fitness we shall have for heaven.(4) The more sure will be our rejection by God and the loss of the soul (Matthew 16:26).

(J. Guyse, D. D.)

(Text in conjunction with 1 Corinthians 13:5; Philippians 2:4).

I. A COMMON BUT SERIOUS FAULT. In one sense it is right to seek our own. To get on with your learning, to prosper in your business, etc., is right and dutiful: but when you are wholly taken up with self, that is seeking your own in a bad sense. Selfishness appears in —

1. Seeking our own pleasure and comfort to the neglect of that of others. You see it in taking the best seats, and trying to get the daintiest morsels at meal times; in the endeavour to get the best of everything for ourselves, and to leave what is inferior for others; in trying to secure a whole railway carriage to oneself, not caring how crowded the others may be. There is something of the kind in churches: and in families where children disregard each other or their parents, and grudging to others what we do not get ourselves.

2. Seeking our own honour and credit. What a danger there is of wishing ill to one's rival in school, play, or business, so that we may reap the advantage. Under this head may be included the tendency to allow others to fall under suspicion where we were the wrong-doers.

3. Seeking to overbear others with our opinion. Most of us like to get our own way and carry our point. Even when convinced many will not give in.

4. Seeking to gratify our own temper irrespective of the pain it may give others. In holding out sulkily, or saying cutting things.

5. Seeking our own salvation all unconcerned about the salvation of others. How unlike the sailor saved from the wreck, whose first word when he returned to consciousness was, "Another man overboard!" as if that were uppermost with him, so that there might be two salvations to him.

II. A RARE BUT BEAUTIFUL GRACE. Love seeking not her own: beautiful, for it is being like Jesus; it is an element of heaven, but rare. It is the opposite of what has been described. Jesus pleased not Himself; nor did Abraham in his dispute with Lot.

III. A VALUABLE COUNSEL. "Look not on his own things," etc.

1. In small matters. It is comparatively easy to be heroic on great occasions.

2. To the widest extent.

(J. H. Wilson, D. D.)

If a vessel were on the eve of going down, what would you think if a few men were to get the boats launched, and before they were half filled, were to cut the ropes that bound them to the ship, and pull off? What would you think of such, congratulating themselves on their own escape, while leaving hundreds on board who were not aware of their danger, some of them, perhaps, sound asleep? I have heard of a man who had set fire to a mill finding he had cut off his own retreat, and appearing at a window several stories up, appealing for help. The ladder was raised in the hope of saving him, but the danger was extreme, and neither fireman nor policeman would venture. A boy was seen forcing his way to the foot of the ladder, saying, "Let me go! I'm his son, and he is my father." And when the fireman would have pushed him back, the boy earnestly repeated, "He is my father, I tell thee, and he does not love God!" and the next minute saw him climbing aloft, making every effort to save his father, and perishing in the attempt.

(J. H. Wilson, D. D.)

A young woman was dying in a lodging in London, of a loathsome disease. Who was her attendant, tenderly nursing her day and night? You might have taken her for a sister. And yet the two had only been fellow servants in the same house, and when the one fell ill and had to go into lodgings, the other gave up her situation to go to nurse her friend, spending her own strength and all her hard-earned savings in supporting her fellow servant, and never leaving her till she died. A friend in Australia has sent me the following touching narrative: — "Some days since, a little girl, called Jane Buchanan, was carrying her brother, a child, in her arms, through the holes not far from Golden Point, on the White Flat, when the little fellow, from joyousness or some other cause, made a sudden spring from his sister's arms, and plumped into an abandoned shaft about ten feet deep. Without a moment's deliberation, our little heroine jumped in to save the life of her brother, and, what is equally gratifying, succeeded. A man who witnessed the accident hurried to the spot, found the girl up to her neck in water and holding the boy above her head, and was hailed with the girl's imploring entreaty — 'Here, you save my little brother, and don't mind me.' Both were drawn up without delay, and both were uninjured save from the cold bath and wet clothes."

(J. H. Wilson, D. D.)

San Quala, the native apostle of Central Burmah, was, in consequence of his abilities and influences, offered a lucrative appointment by the British Commissioner at Pegu. Without hesitation he declined the offer, though having no salary, and depending for food and clothing on the people to whom he preached. He replied, "I cannot do it. I will not have the money. I will not mix up God's work with Government work. There are others to do this thing; employ them." And being further pressed with the suggestion that he might continue his work as missionary, which would thus be rendered easier, he said, "No, sir. When I eat with the children of poverty I am content, I did not leave my dear wife and come up hither in search of silver or agreeable food. I came to this land that its poor benighted inhabitants might be saved." In two and a half years this man had gathered thirty churches and baptized more than two thousand adult believers with his own hands.

(J. B. J. Tinling, B. A.)

in return for his splendid services to China, Gordon would accept only the distinctions of the "Yellow Jacket" and the "Peacock's Feather," which correspond to our own orders of the Garter and the Bath. Of these rewards he wrote to his mother: "I do not care twopence about these things, but know that you and father like them." The Chinese Government twice offered him a fortune. On the first occasion 10,000 taels were actually brought into his room, but he drove out the bearers of the treasure and would not even look at it. On the second occasion the sum was still larger, but this also he declined, and afterwards he wrote home: — "I do not want anything, either money or honours, from either the Chinese Government or our own. As for the honours, I do not value them at all. I know that I am doing a great deal of good, and, liking my profession, do not mind going on with my work. Do not think I am ill-tempered, but I do not care one jot about my promotion, or what people may say. I know I shall leave China as poor as I entered it, but with the knowledge that through my weak instrumentality upwards of eighty to one hundred thousand lives have been spared."

When they (the Athenians, after a battle with Xerxes) came to the Isthmus, and every officer took a bullet from the altar to inscribe upon it the names of those who had done the best service, every one put himself in the first place, and Themistocles in the second.


Mrs. Appleton, of Boston, the daughter of Daniel Webster, was dying, after a long illness. The great lawyer, after pleading an important cause in the courtroom, on his way home stopped at the house of his daughter and went into her sick room. She said to him, "Father, why are you out today in this cold weather without an overcoat?" The great lawyer went into the next room, and was in a flooder tears, saying, "Dying herself, yet thinking only of me." Oh! how much more beautiful is care for others than this everlasting taking care of ourselves!

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

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