Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Philippians 2:4 KJV).
I watched a documentary recently about foreign aid from the developed countries to the third world countries. The statistics about the strings attached to such aids as well as the interests on debts costs so much that these third world countries have no prayer of recovering and developing if they honour the repayments and interest payments on such debts. These debts are linked to austerity measures and structural adjustment programs that seem to incapacitate the countries more in the end than they would have been had the help not been offered. For every aid or debt given, a greater amount is taken out. The dilema for the third world countries is that they have no immediate ways out of their crisis which does not depend in one way or another on foreign intervention. Often foreign trade is so unfairly done that earnings will never be enough without it being supplemented by debts or aids.
It seems that the wealth of the world is in the hands of a few who put measures in place so that no matter the extent of their philanthropic endeavours towards the poor, the poor will have an almost next to impossible task of recovering enough to even dream of catching up with them.
I thought to myself, if at global, national and corporate levels such selfishness and manipulation is so intrinsic, what is happening at the individual level?
The popular belief is that you can only give what you have and even that has to come out of your surplus. The world does not encourage you to give beyond what you have or give out of your inconvenience. The world’s systems, as much as they try, do not encourage, fairness and social justice. It is and has always been about the survival of the fittest. The over riding mentality is this; ‘we are all equal but some are more equal than others’. ‘If you cannot take the heat, then get out of the kitchen’.
So what is the poor to do to get out of the rut that is called living ? They are left with very little choice except to steal, to pull down the next person and to scheme and manipulate their way out of trouble, so they can have a prayer of getting ahead, at least ahead of those in their same situation. This is a big contributing factor to the compounding nature of vices, immorality, duplicity, fraud, murders and other such issues in the society. While some accept their plight and staion in life, some get disillusioned with life and resort to drinking, drud use, violence etc.
Jesus said that ‘the poor will always be with us’. How sad indeed. He did not say this because he was uncaring. He said it because it is a fact of the human condition that we are not selfless enough to put others needs above ours consistently.
So the admonishion that we ‘Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Philippians 2:4 KJV)’ is easier said than done. Some may even consider it as idealistic and overly simplistic. However, as it is the word of God, it is what is expected of us.
Can you imagine what the world will be like if we all put others first? If we actually dare to do unto others as we will have done onto us and beyond that give more attention to doing good to others even if we are not receiving the same treatment?
Society and the world will be turned around and life will be good for everyone.
Fathers will consider their wives and children before taking a decision to abandon them. There will be fewer broken homes. Pastors will seek the welfare of their congregation above their own. Governments will seek the good of their citizens beyond the treachery and fickleness of politics. Each human heart will yearn to see another’s good and welfare.
There will be fair trade and real opportunities for third world countries to also develop. Help and aid will be what it purports to be in the true sense of the word and not mere propaganda to make the rich and famous even more rich and famous nor will it be to simply put the never ending spotlight on their glory side by side with the plight of the orphan, the poor child, the disabled, etc all in the glare of the media.
If God is asking as to be unselfish, I dare say that it is possible to be so. We can be like the little boy in the story below. We can give away the little we have and watch it multiply and feed the multitude.
‘When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would’. (John 6:5-9, 11 KJV)
What is the cure for selfishness?
‘And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth’. (Luke 12:15 KJV)
What will help us make the transition?
How can we genuinely connect with another person and put their needs above ours?
‘For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack’. (2 Corinthians 8:12-15 KJV)
Enough Said !!!!