When I was a little girl, I loved watching Walt Disney on Sunday evenings. A cartoon was usually part of the program. One of my favorites was Chip & Dale, two cute silly chipmunks. In one episode, these two characters were out-doing each other in politeness. One held the door for the other saying, "You first." Then the other would object, "No! I insist! You first." This went on for some time, then they both tried to squeeze their chubby fuzzy bodies through the doorway at the same time! This scenario certainly doesn't happen in the real world, does it?
Note: the link to the Youtube video will say Donald Duck, but has Chip & Dale with it.
Most of my encounters with the real world are very self-centered. Last night, one of many examples of which I'll spare you, fog was rolling in as I was driving home. At one point, a window glass truck was a few inches off my bumper. It was his attempt to "push" me along. Two lane road. Foggy night. I was slightly over the speed limit, I have to admit, yet too slow for this guy. He got huffy after a while then passed me, only to get stuck behind other vehicles and tailgate the poor soul in front of him! In his "me-itis" moment, he was setting the stage for an accident. What if people cared about others more than themselves? What if we were more like Chip & Dale?
The Apostle Paul addressed "me-itis" with the Philippian church. There were power struggles going on in the church of a military city of Rome. There were factions in the church warring with each other for who was in charge. The interesting thing is that they were generous in their support of Paul's ministry. He was the reason that church came into being. From jail, probably awaiting a verdict for his fate, Paul urged them to be like-minded and one in spirit. When power struggles surface, the tug of war threatens to tear a group apart. Me-itis is their illness.
In Philippians 2:1-11 , Paul reminds the church of their mission-- the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He appeals to them through their relationship with him and salvation in Jesus. They already were a compassionate group, why wouldn't they practice this with each other? They are told to do nothing out of selfishness or vain conceit, but to be of one mind due to the common faith and purpose they shared. Church conflicts stem from the very same issue. After all, it's not about them. Paul tells them to consider others as better than themselves, be humble. By submitting to Christ's lordship, they were to submit to each other. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." (verses 3 & 4) He goes on later to give them examples of humility for them to follow. Hence, a cure for "me-itis".
What if everyone treated each other in the manner Paul describes in Philippians 2? Can you see it now? There would be no fighting over the color of the carpet in the sanctuary because that isn't important; the truth of Jesus Christ is central. What if everyone took turns when a lane closes down on the highway, using a zipper effect so everyone can get into the lane? Would there be fewer accident? How about at the gym, with allowing others to work in a set on equipment during a rest break? Everyone would get their workouts done easily! What if families tried to be involved in each other's interests to love an encourage each other? Would there be fewer divorces? What if we put Jesus first? Would that make the difference in our behavior inside and outside of the church? I would love to see the results! Let's be more like Chip & Dale. Let's cure "me-itis" together.
May God bless you!