S52P1 – Outside ourselves: consider others

Phil. 2:3-7

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

They had spent many summers exploring the woods and growing from children to young men.  For a time, they shared their troubles as well as their victories.  It was a friendship that no one really expected to end. High school, however, proved to be a challenge too great for that friendship to overcome.  While one boy was athletic, charming and popular, the other one faded into the backs of the classrooms.  The big man on campus would see his friend walking the halls avoiding eye contact with his fellow classmates and eating lunch alone, but he never stepped in.  He weighed the cost to his reputation, and he could not risk what he saw as his lofty position for the sake of supporting and encouraging someone who used to be a great friend.  That was too much to lose.

To count others as more significant than ourselves involves humility, honor and sacrifice.  One of the questions we must constantly ask ourselves is whether we are willing to risk that which we may believe we deserve for the sake of making sure another receives what he or she should have.  This can be something of a physical nature, or it can be something less tangible like reputation or prestige.  The question we must ask ourselves if we are to be truly transparent in this respect is whether we are willing to lose so that someone else can gain.  If my honor means more to me than the honor of another, I am not there yet. If my comfort and security mean more to me than the comfort and security of another, I am not there yet.  If my gain has ceased to be my motivating consideration, and now I am motivated to bring increase to others, I am well on my way.

God wants us to make other people a priority.  This does not mean that I take the position that I do not matter.  Clearly, I matter in the eyes of God.  What this means is that, if given the option between taking for myself and giving to another, I should give.  It takes us from a mode of self-preservation to a mode of preserving others.  It requires that we put ourselves in a position of believing that God will take care of us so we are able to focus on caring for others.  This is not to say that we practice self-neglect, but we certainly are willing to sacrifice our wants so that others can be taken care of.  Father, increase in us humility and charity so that we might consider others as more significant than ourselves and treat them accordingly.