It’s something I’ve pondered several weeks now with conviction. It’s pretty basic–Each of you should look not only to your own interests but to the interests of others. The very nature of looking to someone else’s interests are that we are disinterested in them to a degree. On a small plane my mom likes to watch Gunsmoke. After hundreds of episodes I’m tired of Gunsmoke. But looking to her interests means I smile and try to enjoy one more episode with her.
But there’s something much more important at stake. In looking to others’ interests, do we look to the interests of Jesus Christ?
“For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”
It’s true that most of our prayers and prayer requests often revolve around our own interests and problems wanting to be solved. But Timothy like Paul looked out for the interests of Jesus Christ.
So what are the interests of Jesus Christ?
We know from the Father that God wants “all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). Jesus made that possible by his death. This very thought was the “joy set before him” which allowed him to endure the cross (Heb 12:2).
It’s about believing in Jesus and while he didn’t just say “believe me,” he said it this way:
“Jesus replied, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent”” (Jn 6:29).
“…even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father” (Jn 10:38)
We see this call of belief in the blind man as well when Jesus asks him about healing, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Mt 9:28).
We cannot convince people to believe, but like Jesus we can show them reasons to believe. The teachings of Christ, the fulfilled prophecy of Christ, the miracles of Christ all lead people to an invitation to believe.
At the same time Jesus was no beggar. Oftentimes when he was around crowds, he preached such difficult sermons that people left in droves (Jn 6). He didn’t chase after them. He didn’t want easy belief-ism but wanted people who genuinely trusted in Him.
If we are looking out to the interests of others, we will look out to the interests of Christ. The first and important interest of Christ is that all men would believe. And how can they have opportunity to believe if they are not told (Rom 10:14)?
If I love the Lord, then I will look out for his interests. His interests are that people who believe him. Evangelism then comes not down to whether I’m gifted or not, whether I like it or not, whether I’m good at it or not. It comes down to looking out for the interests of Jesus Christ. He desires all men to have the opportunity to be saved. He looks out for my interests, and I’m to look out for his.
Paul said most people didn’t do this. “For everyone looks out for his own interests and not those of Jesus Christ” (Php 2:21). But not everyone. “But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel” (Php 2:22).
The question is, what will be said of me? Am I looking out for the interests of Jesus Christ? Or my own interests?