Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. -Phil 2:4
As a result of sin entering the world, mankind lacks the natural inclination to serve others. For this reason, the Apostle Paul instructs the Christians in Philippi to understand the interests of others. This “others” focus requires work, forethought, and follow through. Looking to the interests of others necessitates observation and dialogue with the intent of knowing people to better serve them. This “Otherology” or study of others aids Christian leaders in knowing how to meet needs and pray for those around them. This relational design creates an atmosphere of trust as the recipient knows that someone truly cares for and desires the best for them. Otherology is not rocket science, but it does require a degree of study as we cannot know what makes someone tick unless we spend meaningful time getting to know them.
C.H. Spurgeon writes, “Consider how you can help others, and in what way you can prosper them both in temporal things and in spiritual. You are members of a body, so one member is not to think for itself alone, the unity of the whole body requires that every separate and distinct part of it should be in harmony with the whole.” Spurgeon’s point regarding meeting the “temporal” needs of others is important as these are often the impetus to a discussion about spiritual matters. In fact, Christ elucidates this point in his exposition on the final judgment, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matt 25:35-36). In this pericope, Jesus reveals that meeting the physical and emotional needs of others is commensurate with glorifying Him. Christian leaders, let us exert the time and energy necessary to get to know those in our spheres to serve them better.
-Soli Deo Gloria