While taking a break from my daily labors to pray for a moment about life, sacrifice, love, desires, hopes, security, trust, order and uncertainty I had the following dots connect by the grace of God.
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
This verse from Galatians came to mind immediately after beginning to chew upon the following goldmine/landmine from Philippians
Let each of you look not only to his own interests,but also to the interests of others.
Here is the revelation God offered to me:
The church is God’s perfect place for us to begin practicing looking to others’ interests.
If you want to reorient your life around other person’s interests, there is a great deal of discernment and discipleship required to do it.
A good way to practice this is by submitting yourself fully to your church and the needs, desires, wants, hopes, dreams, etc… of those along whose side you worship regularly. Their prayer requests should be things you can get behind with anticipation and participation. Their needs and wants should be in line with those that honor God in receiving Him more. What better people to serve and do good for than those who are oriented already toward making much of Jesus. If you help them, you help them honor God because the things they are interested in and desire help with making much of Jesus. What a safe place to surrender your will to the will of others.
This foundation provides the place where one, when well-practiced, can enter the difficult domain of serving people who do not honor Jesus with their interests, hopes, dreams, etc…
Paul knew how to do this.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23
19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
It is a grace of God that He would have us FIRST to focus on our immediate brothers and sisters in Christ as the aim of our service, prayer and general do-gooding. It is a safe place to practice and discipline ourselves.
We then enter the realm of discernment and diligence in serving those who do not have prior intention to worship Jesus. We can look to the interests of others who are not like us and do not like the things we like. By God’s grace, perhaps, He may save some of them to join the likes of His church through Christ.
I am thankful for the godly men and women who are part of the body of Christ that I can serve and assist in clear conscience and comradery. I am embarrassed at how often, even among them, I fail to respond to their needs expressed from a common confession.
Everyone has different interests.
Everyone interested in similar things does so to different degrees.
Start by serving those whose primary interest is eagerly waiting for Jesus.
We wait together.
You will find their interests in the interim, however, vary in aim and intensity from yours.
Look to those interests, setting your own aside.
Then become all things to all to by all means save some.
Look to their interests also, setting all your own aside except the primary interest to persuade them to find most interesting that which is of eternal interest: Jesus.