You Are Essential

Philippians 2:1-4

So then, if Jesus encourages you, if love comforts you, if you would share a greater purpose, if you yearn for community, then I’d rejoice to see you work through your differences, love one another, stick together, and find points of agreement. Don’t do things just to promote yourself; try to give someone else a lift. And, among you, it’s not “every man for himself,” rather seek the common good.

Two thoughts.

First, a movement isn’t about getting people to march in lock-step, or to encourage group-think, as translations of these verses often imply. Rather it’s about a community that commits to care about each other, and then pull in the same direction. And the basis for this kind of commitment and effort is never found in coercion, guilt, fear, or some robotic sense of duty. It comes from the positive primal human needs for affirmation, love, purpose, and connection.

Second, self-promotion never works for long. People will see through those motives, even as they go along with you for a while. Loyalty never comes from giving people a good deal; a good deal is the minimum expectation. Loyalty is earned by giving people gifts with no strings attached. But as soon as you give with the intention of earning their loyalty, that’s a huge string. The only way through the paradox is simply to do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do. If you don’t give yourself to the world, the world will miss you.