By Reverend J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.

Philippians 2:1-5 (NRSV)
“1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…,”

A couple of years ago, I facilitated a Christian Stewardship workshop. While speaking with one of the attendees, she expressed to me that she often tells her friends how they should do this or how they should do that. She was implying that she often gives instructions and advice to her colleagues and friends, trying to impress them with how much she knew. I gently shared that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Those wonderful words of encouragement are not unique to me. In other words, I did not make them up. I have heard them spoken many times over the years. Suffice it to say that they are easily spoken but hard lived.

Even though we know how important caring is to the human experience, there are other idioms that show how far some of us have gotten away from the godliness of caring for others. For example,

“Survival of the fittest;
Me, myself and I;
I got mine, you get yours;
I’m gonna do me.”

When you care about the well-being of others, you esteem them better than yourself. You give them a helping hand even if it means you lose out. On our own, this is nearly impossible. A few people may have the compassion and love for their fellow man to regard them greater than themselves, but most do not. The good news is that caring beyond yourself is a Godly attribute that we can obtain. We see from the verse above that we can be encouraged in Christ, comforted in our love, made gracious by His Spirit. We can show compassion and sympathy to others, be of the same mind as Christ, have the same love He has for people, be in one accord with others, and be free of selfish ambition and conceit. We can be humble in esteeming others as better than ourselves. When we take on the spirit of holiness. We can look beyond our own interests to the interests of others.

We become one in mind with the mind that was Christ Jesus. When we speak, we voice His words. People not only hear His words; they feel His compassion and they feel His love. How do we get there from here, you ask? You have to let the mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus. The key word here is let. There is no force when it comes to caring. You have to want to care.

Read the rest of chapter 2 and you’ll find in verse fourteen and following, “14 Do all things without murmuring and arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. 16 It is by your holding fast to the word of life…” When your caring matches and exceeds your sharing, and your love outstrips your fears, you won’t have to tell people how much you know. They will know that you care long before they find out how much you know.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen here or by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook.

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