Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Brother Andrew loves to tell this parable from the Middle East:
A certain man had two sons. One was rich and the other was poor. The rich son had no children while the poor son was blessed with many sons and many daughters. In time, the father fell ill. He was sure he would not live through the week, so on Saturday he called his sons to his side and gave each of them half of his land for their inheritance. Then he died. Before sundown the sons buried their father with respect.
That night the rich son could not sleep. He said to himself, “What my father did was not just. I am rich and my brother is poor. I have plenty of bread while my brother’s children eat one day and trust God for the next. I must move the landmark which our father has set in the middle of the land so that my brother will have the greater share. Ah—but he must not see me; if he sees me, he will be shamed. I must arise early in the morning before it is dawn and move the landmark!” With this he fell asleep and his sleep was secure and peaceful.
Meanwhile, the poor brother could not sleep. As he lay restless on his bed, he said to himself, “What my father did was not just. Here I am surrounded by the joy of many sons and daughters while my brother daily faces the shame of having no sons to carry on his name and no daughters to comfort him in his old age. He should have the land of our fathers. Perhaps this will in part compensate him for his indescribable poverty. Ah—but if I give it to him, he will be shamed. I must awake early in the morning before it is dawn and move the landmark which our father has set!” With this he went to sleep and his sleep was secure and peaceful.
On the first day of the week—very early in the morning, a long time before it was day, the two brothers met at the ancient land marker.
They fell with tears into each other’s arms. And on that spot was built the New Jerusalem.
RESPONSE: Today I will focus on the needs and interests of others rather than on my own.
PRAYER: Pray that this biblical attitude of love, humility and selflessness will pervade the church of Jesus Christ in the Middle East today and around the world.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.