Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others (1 Cor. 10:24, NLT).
Looking at various translations of 1 Cor 10:24, most of them read pretty much the same as the New Living Translation, above. But when I looked at the interlinear translation of this verse, it reads a little differently. The word “good” doesn’t actually appear in this verse, but I think the translators were trying to fill in the gaps and give us the understanding of the full meaning. Check it out:
The Greek word tò is an article, “the” or “that,” rather than the word “good” that we read in our English translations. Translating, word for word, would read more like this: Let no one seek his own, rather that of the other. The meaning is clear so, though the word “good” does not appear in the original Greek, the translation is accurate. This wording brings another passage to mind:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit,
but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but also to the interests of others.
Have this mind among yourselves,
which is yours in Christ Jesus, who,
though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming
obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
When we think of self-sacrifice, Jesus is totally the best example, for all of the above reasons . But when I look around for other examples, I can’t help but think about members of the military. Our volunteer force of brave men and women endure separation from family, physical hardships, danger, and some lose life in order to protect and defend our country, our flag, and our way of life.
We also owe a debt of gratitude to our first responders—Police Officers, Firefighters, EMS, and others. I remember telling my children about the attack on September 11. We looked at pictures of the burning buildings and I explained, “See, most of the people are running away from the attack, but the firefighters are running toward it.” I thank God that He has given some people the brave desire to run toward fires, explosions, and gunfire. Most of us would run in the other direction.
Heroes run toward fires, explosions, and gunfire.
Again, this brings us to Jesus. He moved toward the sinners, outsiders, and rejects. In a society that shunned outcasts, Jesus embraced them. He was willing to do good to them. He came to rescue us from sin and death, at the cost of His own dignity, comfort, and life.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
This month I’m wrestling with what it means to be good, to do good. And I’m realizing that I tend to want to do good for myself. I crave comfort, avoid conflict, and try to fly under the radar, taking no risks. This all sounds like the opposite of Jesus.
Running toward the conflict, embracing the outcasts, forsaking self to serve others…these are ways to do good. For me, doing this kind of good often falls outside my comfort zone. How about you? Let’s remember God still working in us. What rubs us the wrong way might be just the good He is calling us to do. If so, the blessing is that the Lord has already given us new hearts (Ez 36:26-27). He is more than able to accomplish change in us…with Him nothing is impossible (Eph 3:20; Luke 1:37; Matthew 19:26).
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