Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4. (EHV).
Step one in restoring unity is to start with me then realize it’s not about me.
Once again, I’m writing this from an airport. Today is my first travel day of the new year and I’m sitting in a Southwest terminal in St. Louis. I’m transiting one airport to get to another to go to a client for work. On days like this, I like to watch people, and today the people I’m watching are in the group gathered at gate E38. A few feet away from me sit two Asian nuns, enjoying a morning snack. Across from them are two women in hijabs; I presume they’re Muslim. Off to my right sits an older gentleman who, like myself, is chubby and looks tired. Off to my left there is a man who is carrying a camouflage backpack and is dressed like he could be going to a construction site. Off to his left there is a young woman staring at an orange laptop that is festooned with stickers; she may be a student. The agent working our gate today is a tall, bald black man who was just joking with a few of the other waiting passengers.
If you want a place to remember that ‘it’s not about me,’ come to an airport gate. So many of our moments in life seem to be thrown-together moments where people from so many different backgrounds come together for a common purpose. In our case today, it’s flying to Detroit. Other groups with that single purpose are concerts, church services, office meetings, holiday dinners, or online chat rooms. The list is endless.
Today, it’s in our shared interest for all of us to arrive safely at our destination, the first of which is an airport in Michigan. Yet after that, this temporary, disparate group will dissolve and we will all go our separate ways. Who knows if we are like-minded or one in God’s Spirit? Maybe yes, maybe no, especially in a plane with nuns, Muslims, and folks like me. Yet you can’t be on an airplane full of strangers and not realize that you’re all in this together, especially on an egalitarian Southwest flight. When you get irritated, to get along, most people suppress their irritation. When a child cries, most people understand that an airplane in flight is a more unnatural place for little kids than it is adults. When the flight is delayed and tempers are raw, we’re all in this together in having to adjust our lives to fit a bigger schedule.
Isn’t it the same with spreading our faith? It isn’t about me; it isn’t about you. Maybe it’s time to take Paul’s advice.
For further reading: Matthew 16:26, Philippians 2:5.
Lord Jesus, help me to be humble today.