Related Scripture: Philippians 2:1-4.
Service Project—Invest in a Young Person
Perhaps a Sunday school teacher invested in you as a young person. As a direct result of this investment, you were able to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord. Maybe it’s time to pay it forward by investing in a mentoring relationship with someone at your corps or taking on a leadership position.
Pay It Forward
The next time you go to a drive–thru, pay not only for your own food but for the person behind you too. Don’t stick around to see their reaction. Just say a prayer for that person.
Craft—Catch Some Kindness
Paint/markers meant for glass (an use permanent marker)
Instructions: Decorate a mason jar with the phrase “Catch some Kindness.” Fill the jar with slips of paper containing attributes that you admire about people around you. Every month, empty the jar and anonymously find a way to deliver these slips of paper to the people about whom they are written.
Place a chair in the middle of a circle and invite a woman to sit on it. Ask everyone around the circle to say one nice thing about that person. Once everyone has said something, another person sits in the middle and receives the compliments. Follow this process until everyone has had a chance to sit in the chair in the middle.
A week before the meeting, pair up the women. Ask them to share with each other their favorite snack or refreshment. They are to bring that item to the meeting. For backup have cookies, fresh fruit and veggies and punch available.
How many of you consider yourselves to have great relationships with at least one other person? You might be married to your best friend or have a special relationship with a girl friend. What makes the relationship work so well? Why do you consider that person your closest companion or friend?
Paul writes to the Philippians as Christ followers regarding relationships with others. “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose” (Phil. 2:1–2). We immediately answer Paul’s questions in the affirmative. Of course, there is encouragement from belonging to Christ. Of course, there is immense and complete comfort in His love. Of course, there is fellowship together in the Spirit. With all these things our hearts are tender and compassionate.
But Paul’s point with these questions is to say that these qualities should be an obvious part of the Christian life and experience. He follows up these verses with further instructions: “Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing” (Phil. 2: 3, 4).
All of these commands are well connected. Our naturally sin–filled hearts are riddled with selfishness. Many things that we do are to help us on our road to success or help others see us in a better light. However, Christ’s example clearly shows a selfless life. If we are living a selfless life, we will not be trying to impress others. In thinking of others before we think of ourselves, we find holy humility.
Conceit is defined as thinking too highly of oneself or “an excessively favorable opinion of one’s own ability, importance, wit.” When we put ourselves in our rightful place and look at ourselves in comparison with the Lord, we will quickly find the humility that Paul is calling for.
The commentator Matthew Henry states, “There is no greater enemy to Christian love than pride and passion.” If we do things according to the instructions laid out for us by Paul, we will quickly see the good in our brothers and sisters, easily forgive their faults, while seeing the flaws in ourselves much more easily. This will in turn help us find ourselves at the feet of Jesus seeking His forgiveness, instead of finding fault with our brothers and sisters.
Our greatest relationships should be with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The best way to develop these relationships is to follow Paul’s instructions.
Take a minute to think of a way that you have been blessed by someone in the past. This may have been financial support, a helping hand to accomplish what seemed like an impossible task, or just an encouraging word at the right time. This week I encourage each of you to “pay it forward” by doing something unexpected for someone with no thought of any reward. It need not be something that costs money, but something that demands a little bit of yourself.