This Thursday we’ll celebrate God’s gracious gifts over dinners of turkey and mashed potatoes. But will our actions still reflect grateful hearts after plates are cleared and the turkey is gone?
The apostle Paul told the Philippian church that the Christian life must be lived out before the world in order to lead people to the Savior. One way to demonstrate this lifestyle involves humble service to others (Phil. 2:1–11). The basis for humble service is not a method, but a mindset of humility. Humble people consider others more important than themselves (v. 3).
This is a challenge because of our own selfishness. We want to know, “What’s in it for me?” Nowhere does the Bible discourage believers from considering their own interests. But the Bible does discourage believers from thinking only of themselves. Instead, as we consider our own needs, we ought to consider the needs of others (v. 4).
This idea was contrary to the Greek-mindset of Paul’s day. Instead, people put themselves on pedestals, becoming self-seeking and self-promoting. In contrast, Christians ought to have Christ on the pedestal and in genuine Christlikeness focus on others, not merely on themselves. When considering activities with others, we should ask, “What would they enjoy?” rather than, “What would I enjoy?”
People who are truly considerate are becoming increasingly rare. Unbelievers live and work around those whose only focus is themselves. When non-Christians meet serving, considerate people, they may be surprised enough to ask, “What makes them so different?” Believers who are properly focused turn their eyes outward, not inward.
In verses 5–11, Paul gave the perfect illustration of humility—Jesus Christ. He willingly chose to take the role of a servant. If He would do this for us, we should exhibit the same humility in our relationships with others. We should humbly serve others in order to point them to the ultimate Servant and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Editor's Note: This post is adapted from an article originally posted in November 2015.