Devoted To The Interests Of Others

Followers of Jesus Christ are individuals who have turned their eyes away from self and have focused their attention on others. Jesus taught his disciples to do just that. He instructed them to treat others well (Mt. 7:12). He spoke about loving our neighbors (Mk. 12:31). He encouraged his followers to show mercy to everyone (Lk. 10:37). The greatest in the kingdom is the one who serves others (Lk. 22:26). Jesus’ final words to his disciples concerned their treatment of others. He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (Jn. 13:34).

It is apparent that Jesus did not want his followers to be wrapped up in their own lives or to be consumed by their own problems. He did not wish for those around us to be neglected. We often, however, become engrossed in our own lives and neglect our responsibilities toward others. We are too busy with our own affairs and are often blind to the need of others. Worse yet, we just do not care about helping others.

Paul’s instructions to the church at Philippi helps our understanding concerning our relationship with others. He wrote, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4). Do we count others more significant than ourselves? We should. Love and humility make it possible for us to be more aware of others and the needs they may have.

Paul was in need of help from others on many occasions. His epistles are filled with thanks directed toward those who helped him. Paul wrote, “May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me—may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day! – and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus” (2 Tim. 1:16-18). Onesiphorus displayed a wonderful attitude toward others. Paul was truly thankful for such individuals.

Paul also instructed Christians to be helpful. He wrote, “Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:13-14). Paul expected Titus to look after the interests of Zenas and Apollos. They were to be provided for. Titus was also to teach Christians to be devoted to helping others. This suggests that helping others should always be a top priority for the follower of Jesus Christ.

A wonderful picture emerges from the lives of Christians in the New Testament. They were filled with love for one another. They were devoted in their service to each other. Humility and selflessness reigned. What is our attitude toward others? Are we devoted to their interests? We should be!

Jay Taylor