From the Pastors Desk
Apr26FriApril 26, 2019 Pete VanDerLey
Ephesians 5:21 says, “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” and Philippians 2:3-4 reads “do nothing out of selfish ambition or in vain conceit but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also the interests of others”.
One of the dynamics of a healthy church is our willingness to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Now I am going to venture to guess that Paul may be thinking of the great commandment when he wrote this idea. After all, if we love God with all of our being it should be easy to love our neighbour as ourselves. But the reality is we do not find this easy to do. Hence, why Paul states we must do so out of reverence for Christ. Reminds me of the Matthew passage where the separation of goats and sheep take place. Those who love others serve others, and in so doing Jesus said it’s as though we did it unto Christ. It’s tough to consider the interests of others as more important than our own interests. With the busyness of life and its many demands, quite frankly it is hard to remember that the concerns of someone else could actually be more important than our own. So what do we do? Well, Paul says in Philippians we need first of all not to be living life selfishly as was the case of the man who built bigger barns to store more of his goods. Now, allow me this caveat, the Scriptures do not condemn the accumulation of wealth but rather the accumulation of wealth to hoard for oneself. In fact, we should all seek to earn as much as we can so we can in turn be generous with those in need. Next, Paul addresses the need to exercise humility. Elsewhere in Romans Paul discusses the importance of sober evaluation of oneself. The judgement of oneself should, of course, be done in front of a mirror so to speak - the mirror of Scripture. An honest assessment of who we are is the basis from which we can better evaluate our interests versus those of others. There will be times when our needs need to come first. Paul does not negate this point. However, there may be times we can clearly see that our interests can, in fact, be second to those of someone else.
Parents usually excel at placing their children’s interests ahead of their own. Why is that? We can readily see our children’s interests and recognise their importance particularly when they are young. However, as we begin to deal with people who are older, especially other adults, we suddenly seem to forget to be other-centred and tend to be more self-centred. When it comes to life in the church, we can think that our interests are more important than others. We believe that certain things should be done in a particular manner and fail to see that perhaps the way things are being done IS in the interests of others. It is not always the interests of the majority that should be given the higher priority. Sometimes we need to meet the needs of the few even if it is at the expense of the majority. Why is that? Remember Ephesians 5:21 about submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ?
So then, let’s all meditate on these passages and ask ourselves, ‘am I seeking to live as biblically as these verses say I should?’ Remember, it is not the perfection of our lives but the direction of our lives that motivates us to obey Him.