We live in a time where people are selfish. Like Paul describing the last days to Timothy, his message resonates with us today:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
When we read these scriptures in 2 Timothy, self is an underlying theme. In many ways, we see selfish acts on a daily basis, where actions and motives are based on what a person can receive or take from another person and not what they give.
When writing to the Philippians, Paul speaks about thinking of the needs of others (Philippians 2:1-4). He addresses four things to fulfill his joy, but I want to point out two within this discussion:
1. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Don’t act in ways that seek to promote yourself or bring arguments and divisions. Often these are founded in pride, covetessness, and other selfish desires. But in the humility and humbleness of mind, esteem others above yourself. This works beyond the mindset of the world around us that shows partiality and prejudice toward others based on social, financial, and political status.
2. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Regardless of how the world around us conducts its affairs, we should consider everyone above ourselves; not thinking about our own needs, but the needs of others. This is a mindset that considers each person (near and far) above yourself. For example, when driving down the road, instead of throwing out a soda can or food out of your speeding car, think about the person that might have to pick up your trash. Instead of playing your music loudly or working out on the second floor of your hotel, think about your neighbors and how they might feel about your noise. When staying at a hotel, take the time to place your towels in a neat pile instead of leaving them on the towel rack where housekeepers have to touch your damp towels.
In everything, bring glory to God by demonstrating your good works among others (from a pure heart) (Matthew 5:14-16). When you think of others, others will think of Christ.
Make thinking of others a lifestyle of service to others (Matthew 20:25-28).