Philippians 2:4 – Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Have you ever thought about how much time you spend focusing on your own interests? Stop right now and consider that question. Do a few calculations in your mind. If you are like most people, you spend a majority of your time on yourself and your own interests and concerns. Yet, friends, God calls us to go beyond ourselves and our own interests. He wants us to also have a focus on the concerns and needs of others.
This truth is taught in the scripture mentioned at the beginning of the column. Paul essentially says, “Hey folks, don’t just spend all of your time on yourself! Give some time to help others and reach out to them.” There are a pile of people out there with a lot of needs and concerns and God wants us to help them and minister to them. The question is, are we willing to stop focusing so much on ourselves and instead consider the interests and needs of others?
In last week’s column, I touched on this very subject. The column was entitled, “Someone Is Waiting.” Someone is waiting for you to visit. Someone is waiting for you to write or contact them. Someone is waiting for you to give financial help to them. Someone is waiting, but we are often too slow in taking action. Maybe this is because we are too often focused on our own interests.
This past week I have been trying to apply what I shared in last week’s column. As a missionary to the poor, it seems I am always focused on the needs of others. But I knew God wanted me to go further. So a few days ago I texted another American missionary here in the Philippines who is also from Georgia. His name is David and I haven’t had any contact with him in over a year. I texted him and spent time encouraging him. And guess what, that was exactly what David needed! At that very time, he was in need of encouragement. Here is what David said in one of his texts to me. “Thank you Derek. I really needed an encouraging word today. The Lord used you. Thanks.” David was waiting for encouragement from someone, anyone. And God used me as an instrument for that purpose. Praise God!
Then yesterday I found out about a 23 year old girl in another part of the Philippines that has a bad case of leukemia. Kate is the girl’s name and she had reached the point of hopelessness and almost depression because of her situation. I don’t even know Kate, but someone gave me her number and asked me to text her and share with her. It was kind of an unusual situation, but I thought I would go ahead and try and see what happens. Guess what folks? I now have a new friend named Kate! She responded to my initial texts and for the past day we have been texting. I have been encouraging her and sharing also with her about God. Please join with me in praying for Kate. She is in a very difficult situation with the leukemia, but we are trusting and believing God to work a miracle in her life.
Friends, someone is still waiting for you. Will you take action? There are needy people all over the place. Let us stop looking only after our own interests and consider also the interests and needs of others. Amen!