Sermon Summary, 6/17/18, “Joy of Serving!” (Phil 2:1-5; Mt 11:28-30)
So, this engineer dies and goes to hell. Unhappy with the facilities, the engineer installs air conditioning, a good deal in hell, then elevators to take the sweat out of stairs, even microwaves to replace hot ovens. Satan is elated. One day God calls, “Satan, God here, how is it going?” “Great, we’ve got an engineer here that is just fantastic. There seems to be no end of his creativity.” God says, “An engineer? Satan, that’s a mistake. Send him back.” “No way, I like having an engineer on the staff.” God says, “Send him back Satan or I’ll sue.” Satan cackles, “and really God, just where do you think you’ll get a lawyer?”
In real life, I experienced engineering managers who would never let you get a word in edgewise. There was no consideration for the other. Then there were two lawyers, young women, mothers, that each worked half time but together they comprised one of the best full time lawyers ever. To be that effective, it required them to always be thinking about the other. Even in the secular world, consideration of the other makes all the difference. Together, they were a joyful pair.
The opposite we can best describe as “selfishness.” We’ve seen it. In ourselves. In others. We’ve seen it in broken and failed relationships. Selfishness. “I deserve it,” a prelude to infidelity, broken hearts, greed. “It’s all about me.” Tim Keller recently posted, “If each spouse says to the other, “I will treat my selfishness as the main problem in the marriage,” you have the prospect for great things.” Our task is to control our selfishness, and we will then have the prospect for great things!
So how was it that Jesus best described himself? “for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Best described as unselfish, selfless, and his mission? You. You are his other. And his selflessness would take him all the way to the cross for you.
Then Paul, emphasizing the other says, “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. (Phil 2:3-5) Others, others. “Let my joy be complete,” have regard for others.
Let me draw three circles for you, three circles of others: those you can touch, those you can see, those you can hear. Touch, your families, close friends, those you care for; provide for their well-being, peace, joy, the others you touch. Those you can see, your church, your communities; make them places where others can flourish. We find joy in their growth. Then, those we can hear. God said to Moses, “I have heard my people cry and I send you.” See where God is working in the world and join in. Provide well-being, joy for those you hear. Amen.