This morning, on my ride into work, my thoughts were upon the world, and why it is that the world refuses to acknowledge our Lord and Savior, or even our need of a Savior. As I was contemplating this, and maintaining control of my scooter, what traffic was doing began to register.
Suddenly, I noticed that every one was stopped beyond the white line, including my own vehicle. That white line is set where it is for safety reasons. It is for the safety of cross traffic, crossing pedestrians, and our own stopped vehicles. So many reasons are there for the placement of that line, yet everyone was beyond it, and one truck was well into the crosswalk. Then, I thought, stopping behind that line is the law. It is written into the law, and yet, here we were, all of us, breaking that law.
At the next intersection, as we approached a red light, I witnessed a bus run the red from the other side, making a left turn right in front of me. That bus held up the cross traffic, and endangered the pedestrians who were, thank the Lord, waiting for that bus to clear the intersection before they ventured off of the sidewalk. It was a city transit bus, mind you, and so I am sure there was a schedule to be maintained. Yet, the law was broken to obtain “on time” status.
It quickly became disheartening to me to realize just how selfish we all truly are. We are so selfish that we know our given allotment of space behind the white line, yet we all take a little more. Does that foot and half really make a difference in the scheme of things? I mean, here we all still were, waiting at the very same light, none of us yet at our destination. And that bus that ran the red, would two minutes (which is all the light usually takes to cycle) really make a difference in the life of someone reliant upon public transportation? I’ve ridden the bus and it takes twice as long to get somewhere as driving themselves anyway. Anyone riding the bus knows this.
We’re all in such a hurry, and thinking only of ourselves. Those cars are much like our own mental and emotional walls which we put up to keep the rest of the world from invading our space. Within those cars, we are kings. It is our world, and our road, and God have mercy on anyone who cuts us off or makes us wait for a green because they ran the red. God forbid that there should be many cars on our road, holding us up. It is all about us inside of our cars, but isn’t it much the same outside of them? We must somehow protect what we have and even reach for a little more, whether we need it or not, because, well, we need it.
The Apostle Paul, while being held in the prison at Philippi, spent much time writing about what he could claim as his, but did not claim at all. All of his life’s efforts to become a Pharisee of Pharisees, his birthrights within the house of Israel, in the tribe of Benjamin, and his zealous chase against Christians in the Name of Jehovah were as nothing to him. He was once the type of man who would do all that others would see and praise his name. He was the chiefest of sinners in his mind because of his selfishness and his direct offenses toward God, even though unknown to him at the time he offended. He counted this life as nothing, except for one thing he then possessed.
The only thing that mattered to him was Christ Jesus, and following after the will of the Lord. His selfishness had been done away with and Paul became a man who cared for God first, others second, and himself last. He would spend many years in chains, yet never lose faith. He would see the lives of others, and how selfish they were, yet never cease praying for them. He would be tortured, beaten, scoffed at, and driven from city after city, yet never lose his joy. Paul knew that to give it all up was to gain through Christ. He made a very profound statement to the Philippians, in his epistle to them.
“Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.”
That, in and of itself, speaks of the church having understood and done the very thing Paul was writing about. They were demonstrating their love for Paul, and for Christ, in sharing with him what they had. They had sent to him provisions for comfort every time he had been chained. The moment they heard he was bound in another city, they would send him comfort packages. They would give from the heart, knowing that Paul was doing the work of The Lord. And Paul, never feeling as though he needed any of it personally, acknowledged their gifts as fruit of the spirit, selfless, and acceptable to God. They were not being selfish in their walk.
The least of all of the Apostles had done well in many ways, but living sacrificially for others was the greatest thing he did aside from sharing the gospel of Truth. He would have obeyed the law, and yet, done it out of compassion for others. He would have stopped behind the white lines and at the red lights of his life because he would have recognized that it was someone else’s turn to go, and for someone else’s safety that he must abide by the law. Make no mistake, brethren, Paul abode by the Law, out of love for God and love for others. He did not wish to place himself ahead of anyone, for Jesus had commanded to submit, as He Himself did.
May we live this day, and each day given hereafter, not to look for what is in it for ourselves, but, rather, what can we do to bless others? We can in the simplest of ways, like giving the pedestrians the entirety of the crosswalk that they might feel safer, or slowing to a stop when the light turns yellow that the cross drivers don’t get frustrated with us holding them up, or even just yielding the right of way to another that they might feel blessed by our actions toward them. We are to be selfless, knowing that we were bought with a high price. May we remember that our lives are to be about the Lord’s work and the Lord’s will. God’s will is toward others, and He demonstrated it by laying down His own life for us all, and asking us to do the same for Him.
Live for Christ, that others may know Him throughout selflessness. Speak openly about Jesus, for that shows the greatest love in that we sacrifice ourselves, our need of acceptance, and possibly our like-ability for the greater good of souls being saved. Let us Consider today the lives of those around us as being more important than our own, and let us bless someone with simple acts of kindness in stepping out of the way through selfless charity, and sharing Jesus physically, if not verbally.