“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to you own interest but each of you to the interest of the others.”
– Phillippians 2:1-4 (NIV)
I grew up in a time when the “Golden Rule” was not just a great saying or a lot of words that sounded good. It said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
However, today it seems like the gold has lost its shine, and the rule, in many cases, does not apply anymore.
The apostle Paul begins this chapter with words of encouragement, comfort, unity, joy and love. He exhorts the Philippian church to act in humility and in lowliness of mind. Humility is defined as a low degree of thought or thinking.
When was the last time you’ve witnessed true and sincere humility actuality practiced? Whether it’s in homes, government, society or even the church, looking out for the interests of others has decreased or seems to be lost altogether.
This can especially be a sad commentary when it comes to people who declare to love and know God. Nevertheless, it is our responsibly as members of the church to know and practice true humility, in order for the interest of others to be recognized and met.
In the book of Romans 12:10, Paul writes that we should “be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
In other words, we are to give preference to someone other than ourselves with love as our focus, God’s kind of love. Admittedly, in the past few months, with earthquakes, severe storms and fires everywhere, we have seen some extraordinary acts of kindness and love of people looking out for the interests others. Many families, friends, neighbors and even people of other nations, in distressful situations, have received help from people that responded to their needs with sincere giving and sacrifice. They put the interests of others above themselves. This seems to happen only in disastrous and extreme conditions; why can’t we have this type of response occur all the time?
Here are several examples of how servanthood promotes humility and selflessness: Jesus Christ is an example of master-servant . Jesus has the Father's interest in mind when it came to reconciling man back to him and promoting kingdom building.
Apostle Paul’s example of humility is as teacher-servant . He had Jesus’ interest in mind for the spreading of the gospel and establishing churches in all nations of the world.
Timothy’s example of humility is as student-servant . He had Paul’s interest in mind by assisting him with his mission for promoting the church(es) of God.
Each one had the interest of the other in mind, thereby eliminating all envy, pride and selfishness. There was and is one master, Jesus. There are many teachers that are called to follow his lead. Students (that’s all of us) should be assisting in promoting and building the lives of others for the glory of God. There is a motto in our church that we often repeat that says,
Others, Lord others
Let this my motto be
That I may live for others
As I live for thee. …
When we have the interest of others in mind, our own interest will not seem as important.