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WHO IS FIRST?

March 29, 2017

Text: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians  2:3-4

Life presents us with the choices of how we judge ourselves in relation to other persons. Where do we rank in our contacts with other people in various areas: e.g.  athletic skills, vocational skills, physical appearance, mental endeavors, financial status, etc? Just about anything you can name. Ideally, this effort would be used as assessment in improving ourselves. We do not need a high rating to stoke our egos. We can see that Paul in our text above warns us not to compare ourselves to others from rivalry  or conceit.  To do this would certainly induct pride into the equation.

Does it matter who is first?  Rivalry is very common wherever people get together. If you want to know how rowdy real rivalry can get, go to a Texas vs OU football game. Self conceit and pride are the main ingredients of rivalry.  Almost any subject can furnish fuel for the controversy. As the Lord and his disciples turned toward their home base at Capernaum, his disciples began to engage in an argument about the “pecking order” in their klatch. I suspect Jesus had heard this before. “I am the greatest.” Really? In this small gathering of itinerant preachers what difference would it make?  These men would turn the world upside down within the next few decades, but not one of them  ever ever held a scepter nor sat on a worldly throne. Every one of them  died as a criminal like their very leader. They finally had to learn that Jesus was everything and they were nothing. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20 

It is important in the Christian life to learn how to utilize humility and thoughtfulness.  Humility is usually recognized in the lives of doers of good. That is to say that humility is noticed but perhaps neglected. A lot of people know what humility is when they see it, but they disregard the fact that they need to practice it. It seems that thoughtfulness is the mother of  selfless action and selfless action is the mother of humility. Learn to scrutinize needs of others. As Lazarus the beggar daily was passed by the rich man at whose gate the beggar lay, the “got rocks” thought of him merely as part of the scenery. The rich man thought only of his needs, and not what he could do for the needy.  “”Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”” Matthew 22:36-40  

Be sure to get the jump on being good to others and they will recognize you are a step ahead in making others happy. Being first in practicing doing good wins the admiration of others.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Romans 12:13-14 Never say anything bad to someone, but speak only good.   Start showing good will towards early and they will give you respect. 

Show happiness and agreeableness when others ask you to help them do a task. Give of yourself and your time without being resentful; don’t grouse that you are being taken advantage of.  Rather consider it a privilege to aid another person. It may be an opportunity to put another star in your crown or to win over another person who is unfavorable  towards you. “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” Romans 12:17 And, Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:20-21  

 Work with others without seeking praise. Whoever seeks the praise in doing and completing a needed task is usually a politician! The task may be small and not have many consequences, but some people find a way to blow things out of proportion.  Don’t toot your own horn too often or you will find others have already seen through you applause seeking. Likewise there are those who neglect to cooperate with fellow workers or desert before the job is done. Someone might spill the beans: “He does’t work and play well with others.”   “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Romans 12:3

But here in the struggle for fame and pelf
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know
That I’m bluster and buff and empty show.

REM

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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