“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others”
We’re left with 1 big question when we’re told to put ourselves away and focus on others. “What about me?” Who is going to look after me, and when do I get my needs met if I’m always looking out for others? The full extent of this idea alone is eventually I starve to death while giving away my last bite of food. That can’t be what Jesus meant, can it?
I love that the scripture follows behind the principle with some practical thinking. He answers this question when he says, don’t only look at your interest, but look at the interests of others. What that never says is ignore your own needs. It doesn’t say take food from your family’s mouth to feed the hungry. It doesn’t say give away everything, like in poverty, so other people can get out of poverty. Its says,do not look ONLY at your own interests. It’s not bad to want your needs met as well. If you gave your way into poverty and hunger, someone would have to give theirs to help you but you’d only give it away anyways and it never ends well. He doesn’t say neglect your needs, he says look at the interests of others as well.
So, no you don’t have to starve to death, but is your desire for comfort and luxury, and a standard of living keeping you from helping those around the world who don’t have clean water? Is your “hobby” interfering with time playing with your kids? Does your love language keep you from expressing love to your wife/husband the way they receive it? Are you looking at your needs only at not considering the needs of those around you?
It’s not that we stop taking care of our own needs and interests, we just stop doing it at the expense of everyone else. We stop focusing on only our own interests and we start to consider the needs and desires of those around us.
Ask yourself today as you go through your regular routine, whose interest am I neglecting? In what areas of my life and i simply thinking about myself?