Several years ago I had the chance to coach 4-5 year olds in football. Wow, what an adventure! No matter how much you practiced you never really knew what would happen after the ball was hiked. The main reason for this was because each one of those little boys was more focused on trying to be Tim Tebow than the success of the team. Because of this most of our plays ended in chaos as the boys ran all over the field and the ball went anywhere except to the player who was ready to receive it.
In those rare moments when everyone did what they were supposed to, though, it was a beautiful thing (que dramatic music and slow motion camera). Touchdown! It cost some of the boys their personal spot light, but the team had success and they all could celebrate that. This is what being on a team is all about. Today God’s word challenges us to find unity through humbly looking to the needs of others first. Division feeds on selfishness and pride, but loses its power when we are humble. When we look to the interests of others first we fulfill Jesus’ command that we love each other, and we find a deep unity that better positions us for the mission that He has charged us with.
Paul’s challenge to the Philippians, and to us, is to be unified. Jesus gave us our mission, “make disciples.” In order for us to do that we have to work together. The problem is that selfishness and disunity threaten us at every turn. We feed that when we look only to ourselves, and that is why the Holy Spirit prompted Paul to write that we should look out for the needs of others first.
If we will follow this instruction than we won’t: talk about others behind their back, we won’t criticize them, we won’t exclude them, or belittle them. Instead we will help and encourage them even though it may cost us time, energy, and patience. Above all we will love them. One of Jesus’ greatest desires for us is that we love each other. It is so important to Him that He gave this to the disciples as a new command, and He said that it is by that kind of love the people would recognize that we are His. Love calls us to take care of others first, and that act of humility is the driving force behind our unity.
Paul says here that the ultimate example of this kind of humility is Jesus. In every way He is God and yet was willing to set aside all the beauty of heaven to walk with us. He became a baby, entering this world in a stable robed in nothing more than rags, and He did that for us so that He could give Himself to us through His life and His death. If He would do that for us, how can we do any less for each other? This is the kind of love He desires for us, and through it we will be unified and able to pull together for the mission He has given us.
For more on this listen online here: Unity Through Humiliy