Thursday, July 1, 2010

Putting Others First

What a fun morning! I love technology!

So my laptop is dead.  It is not a screen issue, but a GPU problem.  That means a new motherboard.  I am hoping that the manufacturer will actually send me a replacement motherboard as they agreed to do.  My computer is out of warranty, but they have had problems with the GPU in a large number of laptops like mine.  In the meantime I am using my work laptop to post to the blog, which is not the easiest thing to do.  Also, last night I got the bright idea to sync my phone with my home theater PC.  That is why I did not post to the blog earlier today.  I was dealing with the after effects of that error.

Philippians 2:3 reads, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."  If we can put our hearts into this mode of putting others first, we will have the right attitude in regards to how we treat others.  It is our love of ourselves from being as righteous as we are called to be.  "But there is no one who does not cherish within himself some opinion of his own pre-eminence."  Instead of focusing on ourselves, we should be looking at the good qualities of others.  Calvin writes, "we are bidden so to esteem and regard whatever gifts of God we see in other men that we may honor those men in whom they reside."

By putting others first, we also are better able to help others.  We are called to perform "works of love".  Calvin says that "Unless you give up all thought of self and, so to speak, get out of yourself, you will accomplish nothing here."  Scripture often calls the church "the body of Christ."  It compares the members of the church to the members of a body.  No member of the body helps only itself, but each member of the body helps all the other members.  Nor does any body member receive gain only for itself, but the entire body profits.

We are all made in the image of God.  It is because of the way we are made that we are able to love each other.  It is that image of God in us that we love in others.  When others hate us, it is difficult to love them.  It goes against our nature for us to love those who hate us.  We should focus on the fact that our enemies are also created in the image of God.  That helps us to love them.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus focuses on our intentions.  For instance, He tells us that it is not just the act of murder which is sinful, but the anger we can feel which could lead to murder.  It is not just the act of adultery, but the lust which may be in our eye that can lead to adultery.  It is so much about intention.  Our love for others is also about intention.  Just because we do for others, it is not enough.  We must do for others out of love, not for personal gain.  Calvin writes, "First, they must put themselves in the place of him whom they see in need of their assistance, and pity his ill fortune as if they themselves experienced and bore it, so that they may be impelled by a feeling of mercy and humaneness to go to his aid just as to their own."  Several years ago I went on a different mission trip with the youth from our church.  The organizing group made us feel like the poor people that we were serving.  We slept in a Sunday school room in a church that felt more like a homeless shelter.  The meals we ate were not the kind of meals that any of us were used to eating.  The organizers told us that they wanted us to understand just a little of what the people we were helping experienced on a daily basis.  They weren't Calvinists, but they understood that if we feel more connected to those we are called to help, we will care for those we are helping more deeply.

Tomorrow's reading: 3.7.8-3.7.10

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