Monday

"Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others." (v.4)

Philippians 2:1-4 Monday 3 November 2008

Background

Philippians is a letter written by the apostle Paul when he wasimprisoned (probably in Rome) to the Church in the Roman colony atPhilippi, which was in Macedonia to the north of Greece. As withevery letter, we only have part of the story - we don't know whatwas written to Paul that made him respond the way he did.

This section of the letter comes just after the opening greetings.It is intended to encourage the Church at Philippi and to offergood advice. Like much Christian teaching it seems to fly in theface of common sense... Other people are more important thanyou.

Most of us get a bit ratty when we are told other people mattermore than us. Somehow our pride gets scratched. Yet this bit ofadvice is a key that opens the door to a way of making not only abetter society, but also a better world.

If everyone were to behave in the manner advised, then themutuality of care would ensure that all would be allowed to reachtheir full potential. Some may say that such a wish is nothing morethan a fool's paradise: human greed and sin would prevent anythinglike that happening.

But Christians are called to have faith, and faith is not for thefaint hearted. Faith here means trying to live, as Paul suggests,in an imperfect world.

To Ponder

Can it ever be right, or even wise, to behave ina way which we know will be taken advantage of? Why?

When does looking after the needs of othersbecome an infringement of their rights to be as they wish?

How do we avoid the application of this Christianadvice becoming paternalistic and restrictive?

To what extent is this advice practical in amulti-faith and multicultural world?

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