But I hope in Jesus Christ that it will not be long before I can send Timothy to you, and then I shall be cheered by a first-hand account of you and your doings. I have nobody else with a genuine interest in your well-being. All the others seem to be wrapped up in their own affairs and do not really care for the business of Jesus Christ. (JBP)
We may sometimes grumble about how others don’t really care for us. We may sometimes lament that the contemporary church is filled with egocentric consumers as compared to that selfless lot who populated the early church.
Think again. It seems that Paul, who was under house arrest, wasn’t surrounded by eager beaver Christians who sacrificed their own interests to a bigger cause. No-one around him seemed to have had much interest in the people at Philippi. They were caught up with their own affairs. Elsewhere in his writings, Paul admits that many of his supposed colleagues had left him.
Egotism is ingrained in us. We are incurably self-centred from the day we were born. Little babies care nothing for how they might inconvenience others: they want what they want now. And it is a characteristic of broken humanity that we never entirely overcome this infantile self-absorption.
Only the powerful grace of God pointing us through his Spirit to the character and example of Jesus can help us fight back. Realising this, we may do two things. One is to refuse to be embittered at the egocentricity of others: it is normal if regrettable, and we who complain are not free of it either.
The other thing to do is cast ourselves daily on the grace and power of the Spirit to lose our lives in order to find them.