– Henry Neufeld
â€œBe subject to one another in the fear of Christ.â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Ephesians 5:21 (HN)
â€œDonâ€™t each of you look after your own well-being, instead, look after the well-being of others.â€ Â Â Â Â Â Philippians 2:4 (HN)
Anyone who has worked in a retail business knows that there are really two very different classes of people in a storeâ€”the customers, who are served, and the storeâ€™s employees, who serve. We donâ€™t ever expect those roles to change. The customer will not suddenly start giving service to the salesperson. The salesperson doesnâ€™t expect the customer to start providing service.
There are many things we can learn from the world of business: Setting goals and focusing on accomplishing them, efficiency, attention to the needs of the public, organization, and efficient decision making.
But the salesperson to customer relation is not one of these areas. The church is not a place where there is a paid staff that provides service to the people who come in looking for something to buy. Instead, itâ€™s a place where people come to serve; to serve one another. It is truly also a place where people do come to be served as well, but we come there to be served by one another. Everyone serves and everyone receives.
In the passage in Ephesians, Paul is about to talk about family relationships, and that is what we usually talk about when we quote the text. But he also compares these relationships to those in the body of Christ, the church. In both those sets of relationships we need to be subject to one another. Self-seeking is the standard of our society. The standard of our churches should be other-seeking. â€œDonâ€™t look after your own well-being,â€ he tells us in Philippians. â€œLook after the well-being of others.â€
Now some of you may be wondering what this has to do with preparing you for your day. After all, these are supposed to be challenging devotionals that help get you ready for your day. So here is the challenge. The pattern that God planned for the church is the one he wants us to take to the world. We are not to go to church and serve one another, and then leave and behave like everyone else in the world. We are supposed to carry the self-sacrificing love of Christ to all around us.
If youâ€™re a salesperson, try being extra friendly and encouraging to someone, not because that will help you make more sales (though it may well do so!), but because you follow Jesus, who gave his all, and you want to look after the well-being of others.
If you have a coworker who annoys you, try some encouragement. Perhaps the love of Jesus is just what needs to be applied. Be part of the body of Christ, even when youâ€™re not in church.
When youâ€™re shopping, be extraordinarily nice to that salesperson. Donâ€™t be impatient and unkind. Smile! They may be needing just a little bit of encouragement.
And donâ€™t forget to bring that attitude to church this weekend!