In a small town in western Oklahoma, there lived a young mother who was struggling to make ends meet. She worked many hours at a local convenience store, and when she returned home, she was solely responsible for caring for her young son. After work, she would also assist an elderly relative that lived in the same town by running errands or buying groceries. It was November, and though she did much for others, she felt a great need in her heart growing to serve others somehow. She sought out opportunities in her local community. A nearby nursing home needed someone to style the resident’s hair that day. At first, her manager did not want to allow her to take time off to volunteer for charity work, but she eventually won her case. On Thanksgiving morning, she came to the nursing home. In the hallway outside the styling room, residents lined up in wheelchairs and beds; some were not even awake. By giving just a few hours, she could serve and make a difference in the lives of many. Later, when asked why she was willing to go through so much to serve, she said, “I just needed to give. I made a difference.”
Arthur Ashe once said, “True heroism… is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”
In a world of people centered around self, we have been called as Christians to be people-centered around Christ. While the choice of selflessness is more difficult than the choice of selfishness, being selfless makes a difference to others, and being selfish makes no difference. I remember a wise old preacher saying in a sermon, “You either live in Philippians 1:21 or Philippians 2:21.” This is a true statement. Notice these two verses with me.
Verse #1: Paul wrote, in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” If you live Christ-centered and be a servant of Christ, you must have…
- Personal faith. Paul said, “For to ME to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” While our servitude is selfless, the choice to serve begins with self.
- Purposeful faith. Paul said, “For to me to LIVE IS CHRIST, and to die is gain.” If I live, Christ lives. Others should see more Christ in my servitude than self.
- Profitable faith. Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is GAIN.” The profitability of my service is not found in the impact on myself but in the lives of others.
Verse #2: Paul wrote, in Philippians 2:21, “For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.” If you live self-centered and are a servant of self, you will have…
- A selfish life. Paul said, “For all seek their own….” A life that is lived in seeking self can never be a life that is lived in seeking the Kingdom of God first (c.f., Matthew 6:33).
- A self-serving life. Paul said, “…not the things which are of Christ Jesus.” If you do not seek the things of Christ Jesus, you cannot expect to receive things of Christ Jesus.
In a world of people centered around self, we have been called as Christians to be people-centered around Christ. Suppose we want to simplify the concept of servitude in the Bible. In that case, we could say that our servitude rests in one of two homes, Philippians 1:21 or Philippians 2:21. When you evaluate your life and priorities, where do you live?