“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Phil. 2:1-8
Thanks to a combination of very old age in dog years, a freak accident whereby the doorbell ringing caused her to fall backward off a ramp leading out the window to the doggy terrace, not to mention early stage kidney disease and a large un-diagnosed mass all combining to make life tougher than in the past, my sweet long-time canine “kid” Abigail doesn’t do so well with steps anymore. In fact, her NYC doggy vet suggested it best not to do any steps at all. That’s why I found myself one morning walking her along with her buddy Gracie a longer and out-of the-way distance to get to a human wheelchair ramp so I could take them up into one of the rare pretty garden areas in my neck of the woods so to speak. As I walked up the ramp, the seed of this message came to me.
Our lives can become so very hectic, and we can become so self-consumed, and so focused on our own agendas, schedules, calendars, plans, and purpose, etc., disregarding the Lord and others in the midst of it all, or minimizing His preeminence and their importance, anyway, that we find ourselves hurrying others up the stairs, so to speak, when really what we need to do is humbly, lovingly, gently, tenderly, warmly, graciously, gracefully, compassionately, sensitively, patiently, mercifully walk the extra distance alongside them so we can kindly lead them up the ramp to wherever the Lord might lead us as we walk in His will in brotherly godly love and unity.
There are people in need all over this world, from far, far away, to right beside us in our own homes or on the streets, in our jobs, in the grocery store, in parking lots, in hospitals and nursing homes and restaurants and in the park, at the golf course, in the airport, at the soup kitchen, absolutely everywhere. And instead of being so self-consumed and self-centered that we rush through our everyday lives and don’t take the time to love and help and support them with Christ’s love in His strength led by His Spirit, we may find ourselves impatiently, hurriedly, selfishly either trying to hurry them up the steps in our own time according to our own will or we may find ourselves not even walking alongside them at all.
Will we go the distance for the Lord? Will we in His love for His glory go the distance for others, noticing their needs, humbly lovingly reaching out a helping heart and hand to them even when that means going the extra mile to lead them up or down the ramp as we walk beside them? Or will we just rush on by and selfishly disregard the truth we were created above all else to love and glorify and worship God forever and to love others as ourselves even when that entails going out of our way?
That extra distance I walked with Abigail and Gracie enabled Abigail to slowly gingerly walk up the ramp and enjoy the garden area, and reminded me there should be no distance too far to walk in and for the love of Christ and for those whom the Spirit of Christ leads us to walk beside.