” Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
I look at this verse and I sincerely have to ask myself if I am even capable of doing this? I mean, after all, my day usually consumes me. From the time I get up until I hit the bed at night, it’s a list of things that I have to get done to be successful. Putting aside the fact that right now I am not working because I am battling cancer, let’s look at a typical day. Up at 5, morning devotions and prayer until 6:15, breakfast and chat with my wife before she goes to work until 7:15, paperwork to prepare for the day (hopefully done by 8), out the door making calls until returning home around 4, paperwork, fix supper, relax for the evening, bed by 9 hopefully. Pretty full day. How can I look after the things of others when my life is full of so many things?
First, Paul is not saying we should ignore the things that we have to do. Notice he says look ALSO on the things of others. It is necessary that we take care of our own business, or we are worse than an unbeliever (I Tim 5:8). Our first obligation is always to our family.
Second, we have a calling to help those in need. From what I have heard, it used to be that the church was where people went if they had need many years ago, not the government. Parishioners would bring their tithe into the storehouse and if a need came up, the church would help with it. If there was not enough, then people were asked to give more to meet the need. But now the church has abdicated its role, and the government now takes money to help those in need. I know the church still helps out at times, but not like they used to.
So now we get to our verse. Look also to the things of others. Keep in mind that you have brothers and sisters around you that are in this wdayorld just like you are. Some are better off, some are worse off, some have the same blessings you do, some have less or more. It doesn’t matter where they are on the social ladder – we are asked to look after them, to help where we can help, to rejoice when they rejoice, mourn with those that mourn (Rom 12:15)
Last Sunday brought a perfect example. My wife and I were going to head to Iowa City for an early Monday appointment – about a three-hour drive. My daughter called and said she wanted to get our granddaughter a cell phone for her birthday, so she was going to drop off our plan and start her own. It would take us 45 minutes out of our way to do that, and my wife was more than willing (look unto the things of others). I, on the other hand, was not. I did not relish the idea of extra time for the trip down there. So my wife decided to not go up there (again, putting my wishes before her own), and we got the whole thing taken care of anyway. My wife is a master of this verse – I have a long way to go.
I must be more cognizant of the times I am up against a decision that should be made in light of Philippians 2:4. I think when I recognize the opportunity to fulfill this verse, I will do it more often. Until then, pray for me please!
Lord, what you ask us to do in this verse is so hard on our human nature. I thank you for the example my wife is to me in carrying this out – help me to learn to follow her example. Help me to stop being so selfish, and to care more about others. I need your compassion in a big way. Help me start to change today.