Read Philippians 2
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4 MSG)
I grew up about 30 minutes from Walt Disney World in Florida, which means I have been there more times than I can remember. The “Magic Kingdom” has lost a little bit of its allure for me, but I had a lot of fun and made a lot of memories there. On one particular visit, however, I remember waiting in the long line for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It had to have take at least an hour of winding back and forth through the fabricated caverns to the start of the ride. In line near us was a mom and two young children. This particular mom apparently thought that she and her kids were above waiting with the rest of us so she kept instructing her kids to sneak forward in line and she would follow. Eventually someone protested and stopped her, but by then they had already pushed their way past 30 or 40 people. Sometimes people push their way to the front, seeking their own advantage no matter what it costs anyone else. Unfortunately this happens in more important venues than a line at an amusement park. Sometimes as people try to live life together as the Church individuals or groups will sacrifice the greater purpose and mission of the Church for the sake of their own agenda. I wish it wasn’t this way, but far too often this kind of self-serving agenda becomes a toxic force that slows the advancement of God’s Kingdom in our communities.
In this text, Paul reminds this young church in Philippi (a church dealing with an apparent conflict between some of their leaders) to pattern their life together after Jesus who, “…had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. (2:5-8)”
Are there ways that I have put my own wants in front of the needs of others? Have I pushed my way to the front of the line, without considering those around me? Help me, dear Jesus, to follow your lead and selflessly serve.