Thursday, December 11, 2008

Giving up "center stage"

"Let each of you look out...for the interests of others." Philippians 2:4 NKJV

The Bible says, "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." In other words, give up "center stage." Now that's easier said than done because we tend to be preoccupied with one person - me!

You ask someone, "How's it going?" Thinking you really want to hear, they start sharing a recent success. That's your signal. You jump in mid-sentence, blow their light out and say, "Think that's something? Let me tell you about..." You're off and running, right over the deflated ego of your friend who's wishing they'd kept walking when they first saw you. They'd hoped to hear something like, "That's wonderful, tell me more." Instead they get treated to a litany of your opinions and achievements. Whatever happened to "Rejoice with those who rejoice" (Ro 12:15 NIV).

That command cuts across our preoccupation with self and says, "Get over yourself! Vacate center stage. Learn to focus on others." Practice saying, "Enough about me. I want to hear about you. How's your" Stifle the urge to interrupt; just listen! Listen with your ears, your eyes, your mind and your spirit. Try to understand the feelings behind their words. If they're celebrating, "Rejoice with them." If they're hurting, "Mourn with those who sorrow."

The acid test of Christian character is our ability to celebrate another's success, or share their burden as though it were our own. There's no better way to serve and encourage others.

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