Keep Your Eyes Open
Look for ways to build up other people. You'll be surprised at the reaction of blessing and appreciation that you will find.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. What a joy it is to be with you. And I suppose, lest I forget, I ought to use the usual homespun greeting, how in the world are you? Nice to be in the world but not of it – that is the background of that greeting. “You who are kept,” says Simon Peter, “You who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” Jesus prayed, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” So we can live in the world, we can be citizens of our day, sophisticated, cultured, up to date, with it and at the same time, we can be kept clean and pure by trusting the merits of our wonderful, shining, living, resurrected Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m so glad that’s true, aren’t you?
Come with me now to Romans chapter 15. The conclusion of the reasoning that we have in 14 is born out now in this first verse of Romans 15. “We then,” in other words, as a result; “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his neighbor’s good to edification,” or building his neighbor up, in other words, “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, the reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written before time were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
Now, the whole thrust of this 14th chapter is if you find somebody who’s weak in the Christian faith and who differs from you in incidentals and procedures, don’t argue with him — love him and receive him. Remember, he’s God’s servant and he’ll have to be present with you at the judgment seat of Christ. Remember too that because of Calvary, every one of us lives by the grace of God and no one of us lives just for ourselves but for the Lord who bought us with His precious blood. Remember that we have no business of doing the two things that are most common in human interpersonal relationships.
One is to look down on the person because you think you’re better than he and the other is to judge a person because you have different standards than he does.
So he said, “let us not judge one another or put at naught”, he said, “thy brother”. Don’t judge him, don’t despise him. This is repeated. This concept is repeated in this 14th chapter, first in verse 3 and then in verse 10 and then in verse 13. The fact is, then, Paul goes on to say, that the proof that God is ruling your life is not in the things you do to be officially religious but it is in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. And, as a matter of fact, he says, you and I ought to specialize not in tearing down but in building up.
“Let us pursue,” he said, “the things that make for peace, and the things wherewith one may build another person’s life up in Christ.” The whole matter is wrapped up in this that the question of faith “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Anything that you cannot completely and happily and absolutely commit to God in faith, you better not touch it. Now, that’s the package of Romans 14. “Now,” says Paul, as a result of all of that, “we that are strong”, you consider yourself a mature, strong, developed, experienced Christian, do you? Well, then, he said, “we then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves.”
“Let everyone of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.” This truth comes into focus in a number of places in the Word of God. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” “If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted”. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” What does it mean to bear somebody else’s infirmities? What does it mean to be other people’s burdens? Do you have any idea?
Well, first of all, I think you have to face what it says in the verse itself. It says “and not to please ourselves.” “Let everyone of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.” Not to please ourselves. It is impossible to share another person’s need or burden or heart ache if you are intent upon having your own way and pleasing yourself. Do you follow that? It is impossible to share another’s need or burden or heart ache at the same time you’re trying to have your own way in the matter or pleasing yourself, seeking your own aims and objectives. That simply doesn’t work.
So if I’m going to bear anybody else’s burdens, I think that’s the first step I have to take, isn’t it? I have to agree in my own heart and mind and spirit that the priority is going to be placed not upon what I want but on what the other person needs. “Let everyone please his neighbor for his good to edification.” Now, there are two objectives in this matter of pleasing your neighbor. One, to do him good and, two, to build him up. And the way you do this, said he, is to please your neighbor. “Let everyone of us please his neighbor to do him good and to build him up.”
And you have an example on this for even Christ pleased not himself. How shall I go about this? You know you don’t go up to somebody and say, “Now, I’m going to be a blessing to you, brother. I’m going to try to build you up today. I’m going to try to do something good for you today.” Oh, boy, they’ll stay away from you by the thousands if you do that. No, I think it’s a matter of, number one, attitude. You don’t have to say anything just to change your attitude from “me first” to “you first.” It’s that simple.
Some people instinctively think in terms of what they’re going to get out of it. “What will this do to me?” “If I am kind to you, what will this do to my schedule?” “If I take time to help you in a matter, what will this do to what I intended to do at the same time for myself?” See, these are the little considerations that come up every day, don’t they? Mothers particularly have to learn that in bringing up little children and then when the children turn into teenagers and young adults, mothers have to learn that their own schedules oftentimes are cut up and disrupted in order to help those dear children get on through life.
When they’re little, you have to chauffer for them to school and to the Brownie Club and to swimming lessons and to piano lessons and whatnot and the things that you would like to do, you’d like to sit down for instance and just manicure your nails one time, wouldn’t you, lady? Or you’d like to sit down and put your feet up and enjoy a cup of tea quietly without having to do anything but instead you have to plod out to the car and pick up junior or his sister or whatever and take care of them and do that and you say sadly to yourself, “I wish I had some time to myself.” So mothers and fathers and grandmas and grandpas have to learn that lesson along the way so far as dealing with children and grandchildren is concerned. The problem is that we don’t carry that lesson on into the rest of life singularly enough. Many a person who is quite thoughtful regarding his or her immediate family turns out to be quite selfish regarding other people.
And so maybe we need to take that concept that we’ve had to learn in family life, the idea that is that plans sometimes need to be shelved in order to help someone else. Maybe we need to take that concept out into daily living. As a matter of fact there are very few things in your schedule that are absolutely life-and-death matters. Have you noticed that? We assign great importance to things that we want to do. But when it comes right down to it, there are very few things that are life-and-death important so much so that they could not possibly be rearranged. If that be so, then, take a look at your relationships with people in terms of that concept and say, “I am willing to rearrange my schedule from time to time in any given day in order to be of help to someone else.”
“Let us please,” said he, “our neighbors for their good.” “Do them good”, that’s the first thing, and second, “build them up”. And you have an example here in your blessed Savior. Even Christ pleased not Himself. Our Savior said of Himself one day, “The Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life, a ransom for many.” The Lord Jesus Christ specialized not in having other people wait on Him but in helping others instead. Oh, incidentally, the only way to be secure is to be needed and the only way to be needed is to meet the need of someone else.
You and I become superfluous when we stop meeting other people’s needs. Primitive cultures, of course, practice this when they allow the ill and the very old simply to die along the way without paying much attention to them because they’re no longer needed. That’s the cruelty of a primitive or of a pagan culture. It won’t be many years from now but that people will be talking quite commonly of doing away with someone, I’m sure that that’s approaching as our whole culture becomes more and more godless and more and more materialistic and humanistic. But that’s another subject.
In any case, it is a human trait — that is to say the fallen human race has this trait of saying, “If you don’t meet a need, you’re superfluous.” So the only way you can be secure in any human relationship is to specialize in meeting other people’s needs. “Let us please our neighbors,” said he, “for their good and to build them up.” Look for ways to do good today. Look for ways to build up other people. You’ll be surprised at the reaction of blessing and appreciation that you will find.
Dear Father, today, make us specialists in helping and encouraging other people, through Jesus Christ our Lord I pray, Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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