Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, . . . then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Pay it Forward
You have heard of “paying it forward,” haven’t you? You respond to a kind deed done for you—maybe even by a total stranger—by doing something kind for someone else. Maybe you pay for the meal of the person in the drive-thru behind you. Without being asked, you shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk or rake their leaves.
Jesus showed us the ultimate kindness. He didn’t owe us anything. We didn’t deserve his mercy. We weren’t worthy of his time and attention. And yet, he showed us kindness and love, not by paying for our coffee or cheeseburger, but by paying for our souls. Not by doing a job, we didn’t have the time or strength to do, but by doing a job we could never have done for ourselves.
It was the ultimate act of humble service when Jesus, the Son of God, became a human being to live and die for human beings. It was the ultimate sacrifice of love when Jesus, a holy God, suffered, and died to pay for the debt of guilt that we accumulated. He didn’t put himself first. He put us first. What a gift! What humble and unexpected love!
Now the Bible urges us to act on that love. We can’t pay off our debt to God—we don’t have to; Jesus already did—but we can pay forward the love we have been shown by loving others. We can, like Jesus, humbly value others above ourselves. We can put the interests of others ahead of our own.
And when our love for others reflects Jesus’ love for us, we share a gift far greater than a free meal or an hour of time. We share a love that points people to the one who invites forgiven sinners to feast with him in eternity in heaven.
Jesus, you humbled yourself to show me undeserved love. Help me reflect your selfless love to those around me. Amen.