Title: Looking Out for Others
Passage: Philippians 1:27-2:11
The Context: Christ’s joy in the midst of difficulty
The Call: Experience joy as you live as citizens of the gospel
The Conduct: Display the gospel through humble concern for others
The Challenge: Put Christ and the gospel on display.
While there are plenty of negatives that come with the current situation surrounding the coronavirus, I must admit that I like the way it has brought our family together. It even helped me write this update. We sat with three of our four kids home tonight around the dinner table, and I asked everyone to help me think of examples of compassion for the update. However, I tried to phrase my request without sounding like a Sunday school teacher so I asked, “What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you?” Josh described a time in fourth grade after we had moved from Texas to Washington, DC when a classmate asked him to come sit at his lunch table because Josh was all alone in the cafeteria. Mike mentioned a time when his parents endured six months of living apart during the week, so Mike wouldn’t have to move his senior year of high school.
Then I decided to turn the tables and asked, “What has been the nicest thing you have ever done for someone else, outside of our immediate family?” This was seemed trickier and was met by silence at first. However, our daughter, Abby, described how even though she was in a highly competitive advertising program sequence at UT, one semester she took on an additional project– which meant a lot of extra work for her– to help a classmate who didn’t have a partner. I asked why that was so “nice,” and she explained that since the advertising world is so competitive, no one ever really wants to risk helping anyone else. I followed up with, “What do you think made you different than everyone else? Why were you willing to help?” And she said something really interesting. She said, “Well, I guess I was just confident. I knew I was doing well enough in the program, and that made it easier to be willing to sacrifice for someone else. I knew I stood at the top of the program, so I didn’t have to worry.”
Her comments, in light of Matt’s sermon on Sunday, really struck me. We are told to be compassionate and to love our neighbor. As we are hearing in the news every day, our compassionate actions (social distancing) can actually save lives. Yet we see people doing just the opposite. They hoard toilet paper and cleaning supplies or worse– blatantly ignore requests from public officials to limit their interactions with other people. Why is this?
I submit: it is difficult to show compassion if you’re not confident in whom you’ve chosen to follow. If you’re trying to get through this crisis in your own strength, by your own wits, and through your own ingenuity, it’s going to be hard to be compassionate and show the humble concern for others Matt spoke of in his sermon. News flash: you have misplaced your confidence.
There are SO many verses that speak to where we should place our confidence:
Psalms 71:5—For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.
Jeremiah 17:7 But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
Hebrews 13:6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Luke 18:9-14 The parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. As Jesus gets ready to ream the Pharisees for their pride and unrepentant spirits, He starts out by describing their misplaced confidence– “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else…”
And there are so many more.
To truly be compassionate and show the humble concern for others that our Lord and these times require, we must put our confidence in Him and not in our own flesh. We should stop trying to manage everything on our own. It’s impossible in these times anyway. We need to put our confidence in Christ. He’s got this. Coronavirus and all. Then and only then will we have the real freedom to sacrifice in humble concern for someone else.
Save the date/Ongoing:
Well, sadly enough, this section of the update is pretty empty. This breaks my heart a little as I take the first part of our MBC mission “To glorify God and make disciples by bringing people together through the gospel…” as my personal challenge. However, we are going to do our best to use technology as a way to bring people together and help keep you connected to the body here at MBC. We will be live streaming our service again, so look for details about that in the coming days. In fact, keep checking your email, Facebook, and Realm as we are using these to make sure we get decisions out. We also have some creative ideas to meet you across the distance using programs and apps like Zoom, FaceTime, Marco Polo, and possibly even our own MBC YouTube channel! If you have expertise in any of these areas, or you just want to get involved, shoot me an email (click here), and I’ll make sure to include you as we ramp up these offerings.
Please know that we are here for you! We are keeping the MBC office open during its normal hours (9am-3pm), so if you have any needs, concerns, or you just want to talk, give me a call (972-723-0002)!
And speaking of confidence, I’m going to steal Paul’s words, “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in YOU
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6).
In service to Him and to you–even during these crazy times,