A few weeks ago I was helping lead a retreat on the attitude of Jesus. Our core verse was on Philippians 2: 2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
We spent the weekend working through this and many other passages relating to it. We positioned it with loving our neighbors as ourselves. At the closing worship session, each person had received an index card and after the worship were asked to write two things: An attitude towards others that will make you look like Jesus. Also write a sentence that describes how you want to treat a person in need that you encounter and a way you might show compassion even if you cannot actually help them. They brought these cards up to an altar and laid them there. Take a look at the comments from some of the cards.
“He cares for us.
We judge people.
Try to help people when we know they have something wrong.
I would love now to help people. I want to help them as much as I can.”
“He is kind.
It’s easy to judge people by how they look.”
“Do what God wants you to do.
“One attitude I want is compassion.”
“Be present in today.”
“He’s grateful and wants us to be non-judging. We are rotten and it’s easy to judge people. We can listen, compassionately, don’t judge, calmness & respect.
“Love & peace
Help them as much as I can and not think about a thank you or a treat or anyone knowing about it.”
I want to give blankets and maybe food to homeless people.”
“Love & kindness”
“What is mine is His – joyfully.”
Pretty good, right? You might be able to write the same thing and have similar insights. Here’s a little secret. 6th graders part of a confirmation class from Dauphin Way, UMC wrote these. While serving for a weekend in Tuskegee they were learning about taking on the attitude of Jesus in all circumstances. In depth, we talked about attitude and what it really looked like to have the mind of Christ. As an example, we reviewed Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan.
I’ll expand more about this next week but I wanted you to chew on this too. As you reflect on this week and the week to come, what is one attitude you can embrace that looks like Christ’s love? And how might you treat a person you encounter who is in need-even if you cannot really help them-how will you still engage them?
I hope you will pray through this and we’ll open this up a little more next week. And, do you have the heart and theology of a 6th grader :))
Grace and peace,