March 25th, 2007
According to Paul, followers of Jesus need to undergo a radical reordering of their priorities. “Do nothing through selfish rivalry or pride, but humbly consider others to be more important than yourselves, and do not just look after your own interests, but look after the interests of others.” We have to go through a process of retraining ourselves in which we no longer try to grab the biggest slice of cake, or try to become the most important person, or seek the position of highest honour. The purpose of life for a follower of Jesus is to serve others, and so there is no room for selfishness.
Paul’s Letter to the Philippians — Chapter 2
2:1 If there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation in love, any friendship in the Spirit, any affection and compassion, 2:2 make me truly joyful by being like-minded, having the same love, being unified in soul and mind. 2:3 Do nothing through selfish rivalry or pride, but humbly consider others to be more important than yourselves, 2:4 and do not just look after your own interests, but look after the interests of others.
2:5 You should think the way that Christ Jesus thought. 2:6 Although he was in the form of God, he did not consider that he should use equality with God to his own advantage. 2:7 He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and was born in the form of a human. 2:8 While he was in human form he humbled himself and obeyed God to the point of death, dying on the cross. 2:9 So God lifted him up to the highest place, and made his name greater than any other name. 2:10 At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, 2:11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
2:12 My dear friends, you have always obeyed, not only when I was present, but now even more while I am away from you. Do what you need to do for your salvation with fear and trembling. 2:13 It is God who motivates you with both the will and the energy to act according to his favour. 2:14 Do everything without complaining and arguing. 2:15 Be blameless and innocent, untainted children of God in the midst of a dishonest and corrupt generation, amongst whom you shine like lights in the world, 2:16 offering them the word of life. Then I can be proud on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour in vain. 2:17 Even if my life is poured out on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am happy and will rejoice with you all. 2:18 In the same way, you should be glad and rejoice with me.
2:19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I can be encouraged when I know how you are doing. 2:20 I have no one else who truly cares about you in the way he does. 2:21 Other people look after their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 2:22 You know Timothy’s character, and how he served with me in the work of the Good News like a son with his father. 2:23 I hope to send him at once, as soon as I know what is going to happen to me. 2:24 I trust in the Lord that I will soon be able to come myself. 2:25 I thought it was necessary to send you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, your messenger sent to care for my needs. 2:26 He was missing you all, and was quite concerned because you had heard that he was sick. 2:27 He really was sick, and almost died, but God had mercy on him, and not only on him, but also on me, sparing me from facing one sorrow after another. 2:28 So I was very keen to send him back to you. When you see him again you can rejoice and I can stop worrying. 2:29 Welcome him in the Lord with joy, and honour people like him, 2:30 because he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to do for me the things that you could not do.
Entry Filed under: Generosity