November 09, 2005

Accepting Others

Philippians 2:1-4

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4


Sometimes it’s hard to be an “others-oriented” person. Such a person is always looking out for other people and thinking about what they need, how they feel, and what concerns they have. You can spot “othersoriented” people in a group. They are always turning their attention to other people and their well-being. But it’s often hard for most of us to be that way.

As human beings, it’s easier to think about ourselves than about others, to think of our needs rather than the needs of others, to focus the conversation on ourselves rather than on others. If you wonder why this is so, remind yourself that the very nature of sin is to be selfcentered. Because of sin, we find it easier to be concerned with ourselves than with others.

In our Scripture reading for today Paul tells us, in effect, “Put away selfish ambition. Put away vain conceit. Consider other people as better than yourselves. Look to the interests of others.” That’s a mighty tall task!

Yet this mindset can be learned, and the secret of learning it is found in the next section of Philippians 2. Aim for the mind of Christ, says Paul. Jesus’ attitude
was so “others-oriented” that it led him all the way to death on a cross, back to life again, and to the throne of heaven! The mind of Christ is the only answer to our natural self-centeredness. Let’s get close to Christ today.

Spirit of God, continue to cultivate in me the mind and attitude of my Savior, Jesus Christ, who loved me so much that he put me ahead of himself. In his name I pray. Amen!

About the author — Howard Vanderwell

Rev. Howard Vanderwell was involved in pastoral ministry in the Christian Reformed Church for 40 years, serving as a pastor in Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan. Upon retirement in 2002, he began his work at Calvin Seminary, where he helped train the ministers of the next generation. Howard and his wife, Eleanor, were married for 57 years and had three married sons and ten grandchildren.

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