1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:1-11
Big Al was really big. He was a great friend of mine years ago. A group of us decided to go camping. We were each responsible for carrying camping gear and food. Once on the hike, Al kept stopping and he broke a cardinal rule of hiking – he took off his pack. After two or three times, we asked what the issue was. His pack was too heavy. So, the rest of us took on as much as we could to lighten his load. After that, we never stopped again. We shared his burden, each doing extra to help our friend.
Everyone carries unwanted burdens. Life happens to everyone and it can seem too heavy to bear. As we surrender to God, we can be used to help our brothers and sisters, even (or especially) when we don’t know what’s going on. We’re open to feeling that ‘nudge’ as we see someone walking by. My wife and I have a practice when these nudges happen: we choose to respond immediately. It could be just to talk with someone. We may even be blessed with a new relationship. We never really know.
Jesus is our example. He gave up all and incarnated as a human to redeem us. Throughout his ministry, Jesus took interruptions as opportunities, not as inconvenience. Following his example, we begin to see helping others as a privilege rather than a task or job. The perception of inconvenience fades away, and it is replaced with being a blessing and receiving the blessing of helping others.
Divine appointments happen, and we don’t always realize it. Seeming to be an inconvenience, they could be a God-sent opportunity. A great practice for me is, at day’s end, to recall inconvenient interruptions, consider how I reacted, and what I could’ve done differently. Perhaps this was something God sent. As your day comes to an end, this practice might help you react differently and take on the mantle of Christ, reaching out to help, even if it’s just to talk. As you go through this practice, read and consider this passage in Philippians 2.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. Philippians 2:12-18
By Rich Obrecht