Read through the book of 2 Corinthians this morning, and there was one truth that seemed to stick out over and over. Take a look at the following verses…
Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. (1:24)
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. (4:15)
For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed. (10:8)
Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not your's, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. (12:14-15)
Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? We speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. (12:19)
No doubt about it, Paul was a GREAT Christian. But what made him such a GREAT Christian? It was the fact that he followed Christ in giving his all for others. He lived solely for the benefit of those around him.
Philippians 2:3-6 says, Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of god, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant…
Think about this for a minute. What drives your decision making? On what basis do you choose what direction to take or how to act in a certain situation? What determines how conduct yourself in your relationships? Your own good? Your own well being? Your own benefit? Many times that's the way we work. Now let me ask you this. When's the last time you did something for no other reason than to be a blessing to someone else? You got no benefit. You sought no return. You didn't expect any payback. You just went out of your way to do something good for somebody other than yourself. I'm afraid many of us will have to think pretty hard to remember such an instance. Then how much like Jesus are we, really?
Now, the book of 2 Corinthians is all about "the ministry." But don't think that excuses you from this principle. Read chapter 5. We're all called by God to minister. Read 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. We've each been given a spiritual gift, which is to be exercised for the profit of the entire body of Christ.
Jesus came…for others. He died…for others. He rose…for others. And He lives…for others. May we press toward that mark!