“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
“The Fussy Thing Called I”
(Please read Philippians 2:3)
A great portion of our lives is spent in interaction with other people. It’s inherent in the human existence that we simply must get along with one another or, as history shows, there will be malice, false rumors, evil speaking, fisticuffs, murders, and even wars – most of which could have been prevented by thoughtfulness, carefulness and wisdom in dealings between individuals.
While we tend to think that such evil things do not exist among Christians, Paul knew better, so he warned the Philippians, in our text, not to act “out of selfish ambition or vain conceit” (NIV). In a similar vein he wrote to the Roman Christians: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited” (12:16). It’s unfortunate but true that Christians, like other humans, can be afflicted with the “big head,” to their own shame and misfortune. Even without that affliction, you may wonder how we can possibly consider others better than ourselves. Maybe it will help to consider (1) the probability that everyone is better than you in some way, and (2) that perhaps Paul meant simply that we should treat others as if they are better even if they may not be.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, our title was taken from an old poem by Thomas B.B. Webb, entitled, “An Ancient Prayer.” It includes this line: Don’t let me worry overmuch about the fussy thing called I. Which seems to be just about what we’ve been trying to say here.