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That's Interesting

Growing up, I was "forced" to go to my brother’s piano recitals. It was misery. During those occasions, I would think of 101 things I would rather be doing than sitting in some auditorium listening to the same piece Matt had been practicing at home. To make things worse, I had to wear my "Sunday clothes" to this event. The only thing that kept my sanity was the valued tradition of getting ice cream after it was over. Mom said that we needed to support each other. I failed to see the equality of my attending a piano concert and Matt getting to go to a sporting event. You can talk to the people sitting beside you at a football game. Watching guys run, throw, catch, and tackle was a thrilling experience. Sitting still and quiet for an hour and having to clap for your little brother at the end was not my idea of a good time.

One of the many things I failed to see then was the concept of investing in others. Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3, 4). My attitude was focused only towards my own interests and I esteemed those as better than everyone else’s; better than an afternoon piano concert.

Showing interest in someone else can be time consuming, but the dividends are tremendous. We understand that in financial terms. If you want to invest your money, you take it to the bank or other financial institution and give them your capital. Over time, you reap dividends and receive interest back for your investment. When we invest in other people, it also takes time. Think about your best friend or a family you enjoy doing things with. Why is that? Most likely you esteem them because you have spent (invested) much time together. You have shared experiences and perhaps similar interests. If you are married, your spouse can probably finish some of your sentences for you, knows your favorite foods and can anticipate your needs. We all want people to show an interest in us as individuals.

We are to esteem our shepherds in this way. "And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake" (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13). Likewise, those who watch out for our souls invest their time with the sheep. "Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds" (Proverbs 27:23). It is much easier to follow those with whom you have a trusting relationship. Show an interest in them! Guidance will also be better received from those who need it when an interest has been shown in them. We all want to be valued.

It’s exciting when someone takes notice of you by sending you a card, an email, or even a phone call. Our emotional bank accounts rise with those who want to take time out of their day to spend time with us. There are many ways we can "consider one another in order to stir up love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24). Obviously we need to attend the assemblies as the writer goes on to explain. Some need to begin with that investment, not purely for the edification of their brothers and sisters, but for what we owe the Lord in those settings. Just coming to assemble with the saints is not the extent of that passage. I don’t believe the Lord had in mind punching in a time clock on Sunday morning and when the "amen" is said to immediately punch out and go home.

While our mere presence is indeed an encouragement, what more can we do to consider one another? There is the elderly lady sitting by herself, waiting on her ride to take her home who would benefit from a short conversation. There is the teenager who is most likely having a roller coaster of a week who could use some encouragement and support. There is the mother who has been running ragged all day and managed to get her children dressed and fed and to the service who could just use a kind word. There is the visitor who finally accepted an invitation to come to a worship service and is not quite sure what to expect who could use a welcoming handshake and introduction from some friendly faces. Then there is the person who sits on the other side of the building that you don’t even know their name, but is your fellow worker and brother in Christ, who perhaps could add value to your life if an effort were made to get to know him.

The Lord knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2:19). Maybe we should get to know those people too! So enjoy the piano concerts, not because they interest you, but because they are an interest of your brother.