– Henry Beecher
Our Own Agenda
When we are born again, we become new creations in Christ Jesus (2nd Cor 5:17), and we stop following our own agenda and take up the agenda that Jesus Christ has given us (i.e. Matt 28:18-20), and that may mean stepping out of our own comfort zone. We know that God desires all men and women be saved (1st Tim 2:4), and that should be our desire too. If not, check your agenda as I have often have had to do.
Our Own Riches
Whatever we have was given to us by God, so we have nothing at all that was not first given to us, so why would we ever boast about it (1st Cor 4:7)? Try to name one thing that you have that you did not receive from God. Here’s what I came up with; zero! We are not our own since we were bought with a price (1st Cor 6:19-20), so if we share what we have, it’s good to know that it’s not ours to begin with. God owns everything. We’re only stewards of God’s blessings but He expects us to share these blessings with others.
Our Own Interests
The Word of God, through the Apostle Paul, tells us, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:4), so we should think of others and their interests, but of course, the interests of God too (i.e. James 1:27). If we are only looking out for our own interests, then we show we don’t care about the interests (or needs) of others or the things of God.
Our Own Self
How hard it is to die to ourselves. What I mean is it’s very difficult to die to self and live for others, particularly Christ. If we are only interested in self, we’re not caring for one another as we’re commanded to do. The first century church lived this out as “they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:45). Of course, this doesn’t mean we must give everything away, but it does mean we share what we have in the interests of others.
Henry Beecher, in writing, “In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich,” may mean we must lay down our own agenda and take up God’s agenda; we must share what we have with others who have little; we should lay down our own interests and take up the interests of God; and we must die to self and live for Christ. That’s more than a worthy goal…it is our calling.