Daily Encouragement Net
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Tree at Shadow Mountain
Standing in front of a large Christmas tree in the courtyard of Shadow Mountain Community Church near San Diego, CA.

"The Interests Of Others"

Note: We are thankful that we returned home safe and sound last night from our visit to San Diego. We had such a nice visit with our friend, Marilyn, and enjoyed the weather and natural beauty of the San Diego area where she lives, but it' sure good to be home again!

Message summary: Today we encourage each of you to express care for others in fulfilling God’s call. Our primary motive in doing so is that we are following Christ’s example.

Listen to this message on your audio player.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3-5).

In the course of my chaplaincy, years ago, I visited the elderly father of an employee who had Parkinson’s Disease.  Over the course of several years I visited him several times as the disease slowly progressed.

Due to his affliction he had a very hard time expressing himself so I had to often ask, "Would you say that again?" attempting to understand what he was saying.  Any of you who’ve had these kind of experiences know how wearying and frustrating this can be, both for the one speaking and the one listening.

But something came out of that visit that was incredibly encouraging and instructive to me that I still remember years later. He laboriously asked me how my health was since I had just come through surgery. Then he further inquired, "How’s your daughter?"

But here’s was a man dealing with such severe impairment that every thought he tries to convey is a painstaking effort, and yet he was able to recall the health needs of my daughter. He hadn’t even met her but learned about her heart condition through the Daily Encouragement posts. I prayed with him and left feeling strengthened by his most generous expression of care. (Shortly after this visit he departed to be with the Lord.)

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests.” Note
the important words in this portion: “not only”. Paul isn’t suggesting some unrealistic goal. It’s natural to look out for our own interests. It isn't a selfish attitude but a responsible one that leads us to take care of our health, finances, and so forth and make prudent plans for the future.

But in addition to caring for our own needs we are to look out for “the interests of others”. This verse is a call for believers not to be so self-absorbed that they fail to see others in need or fail to respond to another's need or crisis when it’s within their ability to do so. It’s easy to rattle off, “I’m really concerned about ________”. It’s quite another thing to demonstrate that care.

There’s such a tendency in human nature to focus on our own interests. I find the daily text so forthright in acknowledging that we will look out for our own interests. However the tendency is to focus only on our own needs to the exclusion of the needs of others.

This is especially acute when we are dealing with a very serious situation in our own lives and that’s what made my elderly friend’s expression of care so touching. Jesus gives us the supreme example, “Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

The apostle Paul goes on to describe how Jesus Christ demonstrated this attitude using the very powerful teaching of kenosis; how Christ emptied Himself or made Himself nothing (Philippians 2:5ff). The fundamental teaching of the Christmas story is God looking out for the interests of the human race. Jesus willingly took on the limitations of humanity and did not use His divine attributes to relieve Himself of the limitations of being a human being, all the while knowing that He would lay down His life as a ransom for many.

Today we encourage each of you to express care for others in fulfilling God’s call. Our primary motive in doing so is that we are following Christ’s example and bearing the burdens of others according to Galatians 6:2.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we are all recipients of the kindnesses of others who lay aside their own interests; who give generously of their time and resources to assist us in our hour of need. An even greater blessing results when we are the ones who extend ourselves to those in need. Jesus knew of our greatest need and laid aside His throne in heaven for the footstool of earth.  He didn’t consider equality with You to be more important than our need for salvation but deferred to our need above His own preferences or interests. Help us to follow His supreme example and look to the interests of others, while trusting You to provide for our own needs, in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"If That Isn't Love"  Video  Homecoming Singers

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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