Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. Romans 15:2 NIV
All six of my children have worked or are still working for Chick Fil A. As a point of identification, I worked part time for 6 weeks in one of their stores so that I could experience working with them. I made lemonade and delivered hot food to the food truck. I was unable to change my response from “you’re welcome” to the instant “my pleasure”. I ended up doing both. The truth is I enjoyed serving the person regardless of my proper response.
Paul’s encouragement teaches us to be outward focused in doing things for the other person’s benefit.
- Each of us – No one is exempt from being included. This means the expectations should be accomplished by all people, not just the pastor, teachers, leaders or adults. Children should be taught early to learn how to give and be kind to others. We should learn how “each of us” teaches a responsibility for ALL to be engaged in activities benefiting others. It’s easy to notice the “others” not being involved, what is your standard for quantifying your own engagement?
- Should please –aréskō in greek – at its root it carries the idea of service that satisfies. It includes the idea of emotion that works toward making agreeable or making good on something. Paul states that all of us should serve, please, love on our neighbors. Good intentions should find a place to hang its hat on “this is what I did about it.” We serve to please the other.
- For their good – Doing things for their benefit or wellbeing. This takes time with the neighbor to understand what may be “for their benefit”.
- I was clearing out some of my property and a neighbor asked if I had seen cat bones. He had a cat that had wandered into the woods to die and he wanted to give his friend a proper burial. I would have never thought about helping in this way, unless I had taken time to listen to his need.
- To build them up – oikodomé – a compound word of house and building a house. It also carries the idea of making a house into a home. Paul is wanting the activities that you choose to do for others, to help them with structuring their lives toward meaning and purpose. Random acts of kindness are wonderful, serving that builds up is better.
All of us have something to offer others in the way of encouragement. There are so many giftings that each have to serve others. You can use your words, offer you time in services, send cards, or cook a meal. The opportunities are as vast as the number of unique people.
What would our world look like if everyone was following this principle to serve others for their good and benefit? What a radical and cultural altering concept! It’s not a new idea, just one waiting to be tried.
Loving neighbors as yourself means “doing things” for their pleasure and good that builds them up. Find joy in your helping. We struggle from expecting to be served to serving others. but just so you know, “it’s been My pleasure serving you today”.
Blessings Love y’all