You don’t have to look long through the pages of on-line media to discover that having the role of pastor or minister does not mean that a man or woman is actually “looking to the interests of Jesus.” But I have also heard sincere followers of Jesus indicate that they cannot “look to the interests of Jesus” because they don’t have time be full-time. That’s a problem of perception: life with Jesus is full-time. Life in His Kingdom is full-time.
So, what does it mean to look to the interests of Jesus?
Paul writes of Timothy, “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. They all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:19-21
1. Be with Jesus. At the the heart of the Gospel is desire of God to be with His people. Jesus called disciples that they might be “with” Him. (Mark 3:14) So seek daily to be “with” Jesus. Paul saw this experience of God’s love and grace in Christ as the source of the attitude required to look to the interests of others. (Philippians 1:1-4) In the practice of being mindful of Jesus’ presence with you and reflection on His words, you will learn to hear (sense) his voice in your daily life. (John 10:3, John 14:15-21).
2. Be transformed by Jesus. The new creation work of God (2 Corinthians 5:14-17) in the life of a disciple translates into new affections, new attitudes, and new actions. As we follow Him the transformation of our lives through the practices of repentance and faith will show His glory even in our weaknesses. Even as He has occupied our lives by His Spirit, He is cleansing our lives from the inside out. (Mark 7) To cooperate with His work we take hold of that for which He has taken hold of us–being like Jesus in His Kingdom.
3. Be on mission with Jesus. We must trust that as we submit our lives to Jesus the King He is going to take liberty to progressively call us and place us strategically in His mission of loving people and transferring them from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God. For Origin, we are living this out in the UBC campus community and the city of Vancouver.
We trust that God will call out people like Timothy and Epaphroditus, and Euodia and Syntche, mean and women who are giving more and more of their time and energy to the ministry of the Gospel and the church. But God will also continue to create disciples who remain anchored in the context of their work, their faculties, their dorms, their neighbourhoods, and their families to fulfill His mission. In those settings, the call is the same, look to the interests of Jesus by contributing somehow to the disciple-life-journey of another person.
Now anyone in a friendship that matters, or married, or working, or responsible for children or parents, will discover that good relationships require that we temporarily suspend our own interests in order to look to the interests of others. But this willingness and sacrificial attitude is also required at times of Gospel ministry . To look to the interests of Jesus will sometimes require that we set aside our own interests, just as our Lord Jesus has done for us. We may need to set aside our own interests in order to “witness” to the grace of Jesus in our lives or to “proclaim” the Gospel, or to meet regularly to share our life with another disciple, or to sacrificially serve another person or His church with the gifts His Spirit has give us.
Jesus said, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Today, its full-time: look to the interests of Jesus.