“Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others” (Philippians 2:4 ESV).
What can be defined as your “own interest”? Getting the promotion at work, perhaps a pay raise, disciplining your children, ensuring your families’ needs are met, ensuring your car has gas, maybe even getting to watch whatever movie you want or choosing the radio station during the road trip. The list of things that can be define as your own interest can be endless.
Notice, nothing on this list is “bad” or “wrong”. This list, in fact, is perfectly healthy. Looking out for your family and ensuring their needs are met is important. Striving for a promotion at work is a healthy goal to set and having gas in your car is certainly not a bad thing. Raising upright respectful children is an excellent parenting achievement. So, what is Paul teaching in this scripture?
He is not encouraging you to neglect your own interest but is reminding you that it is equally important to also look out for the interest of others. If you are climbing the ladder of success, help pull others up along with you. As you are striving to gain a raise or get a promotion, don’t shut people out who look to you for guidance because you don’t want to share your secrets of success with them. Jesus embodied many things and selflessness was certainly one of them.
In this Proverb, we see the generous will not lack, but prosper. This is contradictory to what we believe, in society, to be true. We think the more we keep or hold on to the more we will have; however, we see this scripture debunk that notion. The more we give, the more we gain. How so? “Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” To refresh means to restore, invigorate, energize, recharge. When we bring restoration to others, when we stir them up toward their purpose, when we recharge them with the Word, we ourselves will be refreshed. You cannot go swimming without getting wet.
Who can you encourage today? Who can you stir up today in their waiting season? Continue to strive toward the desires the Lord has placed in your heart. Continue to set and reach goals, but don’t forget to extend a hand of grace toward your brethren. “Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others” (Phil 2:4).
Recommended Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:24 and 1 Corinthians 3:3
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me stewardship over many things (ex. family, friends, employment, home, etc). I pray that I would steward over it well while keeping a generous heart toward those around me. In Jesus name. Amen!