Philippians 2:19-21

A Tale of Two Leaders: Diotrephes and Timothy


I am saddened every time I think about Diotrephes. He was a man we would all recognize – ambitious, driven, in charge, domineering, and commanding attention. He thought he had it all together. He thought he had God’s favor because his ministry was large and growing. He was a prominent leader.

Read 3 John 9-11. Diotrephes was driven to be first – so much so that he didn’t want anything to do with the apostle John. Can you imagine that? Diotrephes wanted to be the star. He wanted the spotlight – the focus of attention. John was a challenge, a threat.

Take a moment to compare and contrast Diotrephes with the ministry leaders and pastors in your part of the world.

What Diotrephes did feels right to our flesh. It seems so natural. A leader can look wildly successful yet have Diotrephes’s heart.

Now contrast that with what Paul says about Timothy in Philippians 2:19-21.

What is the difference between Diotrephes and Timothy? One operates in the flesh building his own empire. The other operates in the Spirit, counting others as more important than himself.

Take a minute to consider. In our day, which one of these would be more esteemed? Many would say Diotrephes because of his strong leadership. In Jesus’s eyes which one will be rewarded?

More on this next week.