I plan (according to Jesus' plan) to send Timothy to you very soon so he can bring back all the news of you he can gather. Oh, how that will do my heart good!
I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you.
Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus.
But you know yourselves that Timothy's the real thing. He's been a devoted son to me as together we've delivered the Message.
As soon as I see how things are going to fall out for me here, I plan to send him off.
And then I'm hoping and praying to be right on his heels.
But for right now, I'm dispatching Epaphroditus, my good friend and companion in my work. You sent him to help me out; now I'm sending him to help you out.
He has been wanting in the worst way to get back with you. Especially since recovering from the illness you heard about, he's been wanting to get back and reassure you that he is just fine.
He nearly died, as you know, but God had mercy on him. And not only on him - he had mercy on me, too. His death would have been one huge grief piled on top of all the others.
So you can see why I'm so delighted to send him on to you. When you see him again, hale and hearty, how you'll rejoice and how relieved I'll be.
Give him a grand welcome, a joyful embrace! People like him deserve the best you can give.
Remember the ministry to me that you started but weren't able to complete? Well, in the process of finishing up that work, he put his life on the line and nearly died doing it.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)