Seeking the good of others

Big Heart of Art - 1000 Visual MashupsImage by qthomasbower via Flickr
It seems such an obvious thing doesn’t it, that trying to make someone do something never works. Grumpiness never was a winner. Yet its this topic, genuinely seeking the welfare of another, rather than my own agenda, that I find on my mind at the moment. It has appeared in the Bible topic in my house group, revealed itself in an article I read, even, apparently, the moral of a dream I have a couple of nights ago. Now that’s what I call, on the mind.
So I thought I would share.
First, God speaking to his people when they were in a place they’d rather not be…
 “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce.  Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:5-7 (New Living Translation)
This was from house group. We were looking at what it means to be a Christian in a culture that isn’t much interested in Jesus – from this passage we learn how God calls us to genuinely love and bless the people around us. And of course, if we do that, they will probably, as a byproduct, be more interested in what we have to say about Jesus. It makes me ask, what implications does this have for how we go about doing youth work in our churches?  Surely if we sought the prosperity of our local community, it would at least help people have a better opinion of what the church is and therefore who Jesus is.
Dale Carnegie counsels that we are all, really only interested in what we want, so there’s no point telling another what we want of them, we need to provide circumstances which allow the person themselves to want the same things we want. This of course has such implications for me as a Christian youth worker – who wants young people to love Jesus, who wants them to live safe happy lives, for example not drinking too much or smoking…
the article I read was about a man bringing environmentally friendly ideas to people through the fun of manga cartoons. You can read it here.
And the dream I had? I can’t remember it, I only remember waking in the night and asking God to help me remember the meaning – that in all things I should carefully consider the needs of the other. That I should watch out, and not allow my desires to guide what I do, but the genuine prosperity of the other.

I know all this directly applies to my work as we embark on  a complete review of all we do, but I am very aware that it isn’t that bad a principle for the whole of life.

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