November 11, 2021
Scripture: We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Romans 15:1-2 ESV
Observation: Following Jesus’ teaching on the Great Commandment (to love God, ourselves, and our neighbors, Luke 10:27), the above exhortation is a recurring appeal from Paul. In Philippians 2:4, Paul challenges his audience to look not only to his interests but also to the interests of others. And the foundation of his instruction is Christ. He emptied himself (of his divine prerogative) and took on human form and the role of a servant (Philippians 2:7). And he did not seek to please himself but bore the reproach of sinners (Romans 15:3).
Takeaway: Our sacrificial acts of service stand apart from secular relief organizations like UNICEF because we embody the message of eternal hope. Christ in us came not to be served but to give his life as a ransom (Mark 10:45) and bring abundant life (John 10:10). Indeed, we offer something far more significant than relief from present suffering: a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11) that leads to eternal joy with the One who died for us. And when we follow his Spirit’s lead and comfort others with the loving care he has shown us (2 Corinthians 1:3-7), we love our neighbors well.
Prayer: Father God, by your grace, please help us to refrain from seeking our interests over the needs of others, that we might follow the lead of your Son and rely on the power of your Holy Spirit to love our neighbor well. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling