Philippians 2:3-4 NRSV
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:1-4 The Message 
“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

Look to the interests of others and lend a helping hand. A few weeks ago at Park and Pray, Pastor Peter talked about “discerning the needs of others.” That has been on my mind lately. How do we discern the needs of others? Asking is the easiest way to find out what someone needs, but we need to be paying enough attention to even know if we need to ask something! Also, there is something about paying attention to another’s likes and dislikes, knowing about the things that bring them comfort and the things that stress them out, and just knowing when they seem to be in need that is vitally important. This takes time and intentionality in our relationships. 

Some needs are obvious. We all need food, water, shelter, and love; but as unique children of God our needs beyond the basics can take many forms. Maybe we need time alone, or company, or an encouraging word, or a kind hearted “I’m concerned about you” conversation. Maybe we need to be tapped for our skills, or thanked for our service, or given a break. Have you ever had an experience when a friend just stepped in and met a need of yours that you didn’t even know you had? Maybe it was a well timed phone call or text, a hug, or a conversation where you felt truly heard. 

Think about who you would call your “deep-spirited” friends. What do they need? What can you do today that has nothing to do with your own needs or advantage? What worries or strivings of your own can you forget about long enough to lend a helping hand? 

In Peace and Hope, Pastor Ruth