Here’s a thought for Oct. 25

Marshall Evangelical Free Church

I was recently at a rustic camp in the heart of Russia teaching a group of pastors about conflict in marriage and the church. After the first day, it became apparent to all of us that one of the things lacking in our relationships is humility. We talked about how similar our cultures are in the area of selfishness. Selfishness in the workplace. Selfishness in marriage. Selfishness in the church. Selfishness in our own hearts as pastors. It turns out, unfortunately, selfishness is a very cross-cultural thing that has infected all of us.

After agreeing about our selfishness, I had my translator read this passage from the Bible out loud. “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (Philippians 2:35 NLT) That little Russia camp room of 34 pastors fell absolutely silent. You could hear a pin drop. Tears moistened some eyes. In reading only three verses from the Bible, our souls were undone, laid bare before our God.

Together we prayed and pondered how applying just these three verses from the Bible would so dramatically change our marriages, our workplaces and our churches. The choice of Jesus’ selflessness needs to be our choicedaily.

We were learning that the gospel is not just about Jesus dying for our sins so that all who believe in him get heaven instead of hell. This is true enough, but the gospel is about Jesus transforming and changing lives NOW. It’s about Jesus empowering me to consider my wife’s needs above my own. It’s about humbling myself in my workplace wanting to help others and doing my best and not just put in my time for a paycheck. It’s about looking around at real people in our churches and community, considering their needs as more important than my ownand doing something about it. The gospel of Jesus Christ is about transforming lives now, not just hanging around waiting for heaven.

A group of pastors in some remote camp in Russia were begging Jesus to humble their hearts to be less selfish. I prayed with them. I pray you will want this too.