“All seek their own”
“All seek their own” (Philippians 2:21)
We casually glance at these words, we feel how aptly they describe the character of mankind generally, in a world where so many are doing that which is right in their own eyes. But turning to the Word of God for ourselves, and reading Phil. 2. 19-23, so as to get the context, we find that the Apostle Paul, when he says, “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s,” is not speaking of the world, but of the saints.
Solemn words they were indeed, but the state of the children of God was such even in those early days, that when the Apostle looked around his immediate circle, he could only find one, his own son in the faith, Timothy, who would fully care for those saints at Philippi, who were no doubt the fruit of his labours.
In this very epistle, we see the Apostle on the one hand, with Christ as his object, ever seeking to know Him better, and to become more like Him, until that moment when he would enter into His glorious presence, whilst on the other hand, he is consumed with zeal for the interests of the Lord, in this world where He was rejected, desiring always to encourage and strengthen the people of God.
Must it not have been the cause of much grief and disappointment to him, to have had so soon to utter such words, '"All seek their own,” and has it not a voice to us today?
As the Lord looks upon us, is He able to say, “Ye seek the things of Jesus Christ”? Is the love of Christ so constraining us, that we who live, do not live unto ourselves, but unto Him, who died for us, and rose again (see 2 Cor. 5:14.15), and are we seeking to help and encourage His own, who are so Precious in His sight?
How many are the opportunities we have missed in the past, but if still we are left here waiting for Him, we shall yet have opportunities, and we do well to pray that we may not let them slip by unheeded. For instance, the summer comes round, and no doubt many of us spend a week or two in the country or at the seaside. Shall we turn to Him about it, and seek His interests, for it is so very easy for us to put self first in these things. Sometimes we feel we must choose a bracing coast-town, or a quiet village, as necessary for our health, and truly we need to care for our bodies, for they are the Lord’s, but let us beware lest we are ensnared by making that the supreme consideration. Or perhaps we would so like to visit this or that district, because of its glorious scenery, but listen again to those words, “All seek their own.”
Last summer there were some who spent their holiday in France and in Switzerland, with the desire to seek the things of Jesus Christ, by ministering to scattered saints, and preaching the Gospel to those that were yet in darkness. Have we ever had any such desires as these?
We may not be called of God to go abroad, but do we ever stop to think of the many of His children, even in this country, to whom we could prove a cheer and a blessing, by just spending our holiday where we could visit and have fellowship together with them, and maybe they are languishing owing to our failure in the past ?
Some may say that they need a real rest, but can we not find rest amongst His own? Then there are others, without doubt, that feel that they could not be of any help to anyone, but let such remember that even a cup of cold water given in His Name will not lose its reward. Some, perhaps, are hardly ever away from home, and the bright meetings which they are privileged to enjoy in their own town, but what a cheer it is to many who are not so happily circumstanced to have fellowship with some from other parts. It is the fellowship that is so sweet. Have we not all been baptized into one Body by one Spirit; and are we not all one in Christ Jesus?—and what joy it gives to many to meet with other members of His body, even if at times it is only for a grip of the hand.
We who live in the great cities know little of the spiritual exercises of some of our brethren and sisters in country parts, and how they yearn to see us, and as we think over it, may it increase our desire to spend our holiday this summer, not seeking our own, but “the things that are Jesus Christ's."
If we have failed, we thank Him that He never fails, and if we have neglected His own, we know that He watches over each one with His tender Shepherd care, not forgetful of the least of them. Praise His Name!
But let us remember that His faithfulness does by no means relieve us of our responsibility, and may we have more of the spirit of the Apostle Paul, when he could say, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you.”
And what of the result? Our hearts surely will be filled with His peace and joy, and in the day that is coming we shall hear that “Well done” from His own blessed lips.
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household, of faith” (Gal. 6.10).
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