The interests of others
Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4 (NRSV)
What are your interests? What are the interests of others? How do you look to the interests of others? What does that encompass?
Let me brag on my church for a moment, because in doing so I brag on God. First Presbyterian Church of Albany has a Community Resource Ministry that meets with homeless and needy people in order to help them reach a place of self-sufficiency, providing them proper resources for things such as education, job opportunities, housing, and more. This amazing ministry began because some people saw that others needed help.
We started off two days a month meeting with people for two hours a day. Now through the grace of God (and to God be the glory) it is going on two times a week, soon to be three times a week! Because of those dedicated folk who look to the interests of others, lives are changing through the power of gospel of Jesus the Christ.
A couple of months ago I sat down at a restaurant bar. As often happens I struck up a conversation with people next to me. Inevitably I was asked what I do. I told them. One of them said, “Oh I don’t go to church.”
“Why not,” I asked.
“Because, you guys don’t care about what I care about.” He then told me how he is into the arts. He likes painting and music and pottery, and the church, as far as he can tell, has no place for his interests. The sad part was, he isn’t wrong. “If there was a church that had people painting and sharing their joys and talents, and praising that way, I’d go. But you all aren’t like that.”
What are the interests of others? Have we been looking too much toward our own interests at the expense of those who need a church to call home? In the heart of God there is a place for everyone. “Interest” is a broad term. While no one church can meet the interests of all, God knows there are so many churches because Jesus interacts with everyone differently. Yet inevitably Jesus interacts with us in order that we interact with others as disciples. How will we do that?