Can you think of a time that someone did something just to make you happy?
One of the most important things that God wants us to learn is that the world does not revolve around us. When I was a kid there was this “commercial” on TV on Saturday mornings during the cartoons that proclaimed “The most important person in the whole wide world is YOU.” It had a catchy song and was meant to make us feel good about ourselves.
But God says that the most important person in the world is Jesus and then everyone else and THE you. When I was a kid I learned in church that JOY stands for Jesus, then Others, then You. If you want to have joy you must put Jesus and others before yourself.
Paul tells the Roman Christians the same thing in chapter 15 of the book of Romans. Listen to how he tells the people to treat each other:
Romans 15:2-3. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself…
Paul says put others first. “Please” your neighbor. “Build your neighbor up.” Do things for your neighbor’s “good.”
And don’t forget what Jesus taught us about our neighbors. When he was asked “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told them the story of the Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan was kind to his enemy, a wounded Jewish man that he was supposed to hate. But instead Mr. Samaritan loved him, took care of him, and did good to him. Our neighbor is literally everyone we know, even our “enemies.”
But why does God want us to put others first?
Well one reason is because that is exactly what Jesus did. Paul said “For Christ did not please himself.” Jesus put the whole world above himself when he died on the cross for us all. He thought of us when he was being crucified. He loved us even to the point of giving everything up for us. Wow!
And God knows that when we know that he loves us no matter what, and when we learn to put others first that that is when we are truly free. Free from being so selfish and free to be who God wants us to be – a person who loves our neighbor just like Jesus did.
Because of Jesus we are God’s neighbor who he loves, pleases, and builds up.
With Jesus we can put others ahead of ourselves.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
In this scene from Sing, Eddie puts Buster first and helps him wash cars. Who might you out first today and help?
You didn’t live to please yourself, you lived for others including me. Help me to do the same thing today. To put others first.
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