ome folks would rather change anything but their mind. We use words like stubborn, hardheaded, obstinate and some folks are even downright mule-headed.
Twice in our short text we hear Paul encouraging the Philippians to, “be of the same mind with Christ Jesus.” Also, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself taking the form of a servant, being born in human likeness.” (5-7, NRSV)
People like a prince who doesn’t act too princely. They admire the Lord of the Manor who doesn’t Lord it over them. Christ was the Son of the Almighty Father who flung the stars into space, yet he did not use his power to impress.
Since none of us were born with the same self-sacrificing attitude that was in Christ, in order to share in His attitude we have to be willing to change our minds.
Basic to the Christian Faith is the concept of Change in a person’s life and thoughts. New Life in Christ brings about change as the potential Child of God realizes that God wants to forgive them of sin and that this forgiveness brings a change in one’s values and ambitions. Persons, especially young people, tend to move from desiring careers based on financial gain to a more human service type of vocation. It’s only natural that a new believer will be so overwhelmed by God’s love for them that they will want to serve others and not just self. However, one of the great things about today’s job market is that there are many vocations that allow for service to others and also pay well.
My mother saw public school teaching as an outreach to her first grade students and their families. Many years after her retirement she would still meet former students who would invariably tell her how much her love, caring and special attention meant to them.
Nonbelievers seem to expect us to be persons who care about them. As a result of the recent Gulf Coast floods Christian organizations have led the way in offering assistance. Our United Methodist Committee on Relief (U.M.C.O.R.) is the textbook example of how an organized denomination can assist the most needy people in the biggest way by being ready when the naturally occurring storms and floods strike anywhere in the world. We have goods and services pre-packaged for delivery as soon as we can get into the stricken area. The whole purpose of giving relief where needed is an expression of our care for others.
Our church has purchased 500 empty “Flood Buckets” for UMCOR and you will have an opportunity to take a shopping list and fill as many buckets as you can sign up for. It will cost about $35.00 to $50.00 depending on where you purchase your goods. Many families and individuals are receiving Flood Buckets at this very moment because some loving and caring United Methodist filled their bucket ahead of time.
Another tangible thing you can do, that will do you good, is to take those things that you have been meaning to donate to The Salvation Army tomorrow, or this week. We have signed on to partner with them in helping families from the Gulf areas to make a new start in life. They need everything that a family needs. It would be a good lesson for your children if you would take them along when you shop for the Flood Buckets. They will see that you care in Jesus’ name and they will also experience a precursor of how Salvation finds its practical expression in giving out of Gratitude back through your caring local church.
Next Sunday is World Wide Communion Sunday and Christians around the globe will donate funds for others. We will be giving you an opportunity to mark your World Communion Offering for Hurricane Relief or for World Relief.
I am sure that if you would interview any staff person who works for a Christian relief agency they would tell you that they were called by God to do this kind of work as a way of giving back to God for what He has done so graciously for them. Unselfishness is a common characteristic of true believers.
So, if you are not feeling grateful, give anyway and you will begin to recognize how much abundance you have to be thankful for. And just remember that it was God who implanted within your soul a need to give and share as you Change Your Mind from self centeredness to a heart on fire for others.
And look for an opportunity to mention to someone that you are assisting that you are responding out of love for others. Some will ask you why you are giving and others will compliment you and thank you for your help. You might feel like saying, “I am doing this because God has done so much for me by redeeming me and blessing me!”
And, you can proudly say that the Sun never sets on the caring ministry of our United Methodist denomination around the entire globe, and right here in Carrollton, and in our state and nation.
Let’s allow Him to Change Our Minds!
sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor