ODJ: helping the stranded

December 14, 2014 

READ: Philippians 2:1-11 

Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being (v.7).

After Nelson Mandela’s death at the end of 2013, many stories surfaced of his genuine concern for others. In 1950s Apartheid South Africa, Mandela once saw a white woman standing beside her broken car in Johannesburg. Approaching her, he offered help and was able to fix the car.

When the grateful woman offered to pay him, he said, “Oh no, that’s not necessary.” “But why else would you, a black man, have done that for me if you didn’t want money?” she asked. “Because you were stranded at the side of the road,” he replied. This same man went on to become the first democratically elected president of the country in 1994.

In this season of giving, most of us are more generous and outward-focused than we might ordinarily be. The apostle Paul applauded the church in Philippi from his prison cell and thanked them for their generosity (Philippians 4:15-18), but he also warned them against wrong motives (2:3-4). His words remind us not to be selfish, urge us to be humble, call us to think of others as better than ourselves and require that we be genuinely interested in them and their needs (2:3-4).

The apostle challenged others to have the same attitude as that of Jesus Christ: though He was God, He gave up His divine privileges, took on the humble position of a slave and was born a human being. He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. God therefore raised Him to the place of highest honour and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (2:5-11).

He gave His life because we were stranded in sin and death. May we live out His servant heart. —Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day plan› 2 Timothy 3:1-17

Read Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31, Acts 20:35 and see what these Scriptures reveal about how we should treat others. 
How can you truly serve others this Christmas season? How do humility and serving others fit together?