Although I have many friends living all over the world, I have never pretended to be anything other than a Southerner from the Carolinas. Like most states and countries, North and South Carolina have a culture unique to them, and I’m proud to say I’ve been blessed to spend my twenty-eight years living in the Carolinas. During this time, I’ve learned some important truths about the Carolina culture: Iced tea should always be made with sugar. Anything else is considered to be brown water. Football is king during the autumn season. There is a difference between being country and being a redneck. Just because a person lives in the South does not make him a redneck. And if a person doesn’t enjoy listening to country music, he should learn to tolerate it because he will hear country music at public places, events, and in his friends’ cars.
Even though I am joking about the rules of the Carolinas, there is some truth in these “rules,” especially when it comes to listening to country music. I fall into the category of people who can listen to country music but don’t necessarily enjoy it. Because of this, I have a relative knowledge about the different country singers and songs which everyone loves. As I studied for today’s blog in Philippians 2:19-21, I couldn’t help but think of a popular country song by Toby Keith entitled, “I Wanna Talk About Me.” The chorus of this song is: “I wanna talk about me, wanna talk about I, wanna talk about number one oh my me my. What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see. I like talking about you, you, you, you, usually, but occasionally, I wanna talk about meeeeee. I wanna talk about me.”
referring are Christians. Yet Timothy is the only one who cares more about others than he does about himself. In verse twenty, Paul says he has no one else to send “who will genuinely be concerned for your (the church at Philippi's) welfare.” In other words, the other believers wanted to talk and think about themselves.
I find it sad that Paul, who is considered to be the greatest missionary of all times, felt alone in his ministry. So many people owed their lives to Paul because he told them about Jesus’ saving work on the cross, yet Timothy was the only one willing to help Paul in ministering to others. I can’t help but wonder if we’re really any different from the Christians of Paul’s time.
For the person who is chronically sick, it’s extremely easy to become self-absorbed. Many times we are forced to stay home and not work. Because we rarely leave our house and interact with others, it’s easy to begin to think only of ourselves. It’s not intentional on our parts, but the smaller our world becomes, the less we think about others’ needs and problems, and the more we think only of ourselves. Yet the more we think about our problems, the bigger our problems seem, which in turn, makes us sad, lonely, worried people. It’s a never-ending cycle. The only way to break the cycle is to stop making life about ourselves, and reach out to someone who needs some encouragement. God left us in this world to do some good, but we can’t do that if we’re focused on ourselves and our sickness.
So are you like Timothy, or are you like the rest of the world? Have you made life all about you, or are you being the hands and feet of Christ? There are many people in this world who are hurting and need the hope of Christ. What if you’re the one who takes a stand and chooses to reach
out and help?
“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” ~Philippians 2:4
© September 27, 2012