Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

08/28/2019

Randall Caselman

 

Rising Above the Ordinary

 

  In the narrative of the Good Shepherd, Jesus mentioned that Satan comes as a thief to steal, kill, and destroy; but that He came to make life better, that we might have an abundant life, life above the ordinary, life at it fullest. How does this happen? By placing others before ourselves, consider others before self.

 

Scripture is replete with this concept...

 

Philippians 2.3... "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."

 

Ephesians 4.29-32... "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen... Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

 

When we hear a kind word spoken about a friend or neighbor, pass it along. If it's a negative word or thought, keep it to yourself.

 

Proverbs 3.27..."Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act."

 

Galatians 6.10... "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

 

A constant focus on self is of the devil, considering and serving the wellbeing of others confirms that the spirit of Jesus dwells in us.

 

Romans 8.9. "You are controlled not by the sinful flesh nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."

 

Someone once wrote on the subject of "How To Be Miserable. It went something like this...

• Always be thinking about yourself...

• Always be found talking about yourself...

• Believe life is all about you...

• Use the big 'I' as often as possible...

• Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others...

• Listen greedily to what people say about you...

• Expect to be appreciated...

• Expect to never be criticized...

• Be quick to criticize others...

• Always be suspicious...

• Be jealous and envious of others...

• Be sensitive to slights...

• Look for slights...

• Wear your feelings on your sleeve...

• Trust no one...

• Never forgive a criticism...

• Never forgive any wrong...

• Insist that you know everything...

• Insist on consideration and respect...

• Demand agreement with your own views on everything...

• Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them...

• Believe you are to be served...

• Serve no one but self...

• Shirk or excuse your responsibility to assist others...

• Do as little as possible for others.

 

  Indeed... It seems that our culture is stuck on the idea that life is all about me, but Jesus said: "The greatest in the Kingdom of God is the one who serves others; In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

 

  There exist all kinds of creditable evidence proving the fact that helping others, in turn, helps us. Thinking of others, showing an interest in others, serving others, being kind to others, has a profoundly positive effect on our own happiness...

 

Mark Twain once said: "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with saying: "You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."

 

Albert Schweitzer: "Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate."

 

  Wow, with all the evidence that exists about placing others and the interest of others before one's self bringing happiness, the abundant, full life, why is it that we still behave so selfishly?

 

  Let us challenge one another to live a life above the ordinary. Amen?

 

—Randall Caselman