Saturday, April 16, 2011

Philippians 2:3-4

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."

Are you easily inconvenienced?  We all live busy lives and as a result tend to be guarded with our time, focusing on our interests rather than the interests of others.  When we are in this state of mind we regard the needs of others as intrusions in our lives and though we may choose to get involved and help, we lack the proper motivation.  Scripture, unlike anything the world has to offer is about motivation and means rather than overt action.  Sure, we are told to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27), not by our own power for our own purposes; it is God Who is at work in us to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).   We are not to be selfish with our time or any resource that God has given us, for everything that we have is a gift from God designed for us to serve Him.  Serving God requires us to serve others and this means getting involved in the lives of others.  Jesus said in Matthew 20:28- “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Our lives are about imitating Christ Who entered the world for the purpose of serving others by giving His life as a ransom for all.  There is no way that we could ever rise to this level of service but this is what we are to strive for.  This is how we draw nearer to God.

Reflect for a moment on the account of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37.  A man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho has been robbed, stripped of his clothes, beaten and left for dead.  First a priest, then a Levite saw this man and walked right past him, choosing not to get involved.  Then a Samaritan (of all people) came upon him, bandaged up his wounds, poured ointment on them, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  He then paid the inn keeper on behalf of the injured man. Jesus told this story to his disciples as an example of what He expected of them as it pertained to getting involved in the lives of others.  We should be racing to help others for when others are in need and we fill that need it becomes a wonderful opportunity for us to communicate the Gospel, which is exactly what our motivation needs to be. Getting involved in the lives of others is the business of the Christian.  Selfishness is a lack of orientation to the reality of where our resources, talents, and skills come from and what they are to be used for.  Imagine the horror of walking past (literally or figuratively) an unbeliever who needs help only to have another unbeliever step in and help him instead.  Sure, the unbeliever can supply his temporal needs but he is incapable of supplying what is really needed - the Gospel!  This should be the most horrific thing that you could possibly imagine - an unbeliever supplanting you in your duty to love and serve others for the sake of the Gospel and therefore the Glory of God.

Regard service to others as an opportunity not a burden.  In fact, don’t wait until you are asked, instead make yourself available before you have to be asked.  Recognize that whatever you have was given to you by God for the very purpose of serving Him which requires us to serve others.  Also recognize that proper motivation is required in order to fulfill the command to love others as Christ loves us.  We are not to serve others so that we will “feel good about ourselves” or so we will be recognized or because we believe that “if you do good to others it will be returned to you”.  We do these things not so we will receive something but because we have already received something- the infinite blessing of having a personal relationship with God because Jesus Christ intervened on our behalf and paid a ransom that we could never pay.  Take an interest and get involved in the lives of others because of Who you represent.  God works through us (Phil. 2:13) to reach others.  If we choose not to get involved God will surely find someone else to accomplish His will but is this what we really want?  Do we want to sit on the bench while someone else takes our spot?  Be a workhorse for the Gospel by making yourself available for God to use you in the lives of others and do so for the glory of God. Doing this will draw you nearer to God.

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