Friday, February 13, 2009

Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice

One of the most influential men in my life passed away last month. It made me think about some of the other people who have influenced me. I think about some of the people who I look at and think, “I ought to be more like that.” These are the people that make me feel guilty because I don’t live at that high of standard.

The thing I have noticed about these people is that they all love people. It’s easy for us to love some people, like our family and friends, but what about other people? What about people we might see as being in the way of our dreams?

In a blog post announcing the sale of his novel, Richard Mabry writes “there are bound to be some of my readers who are thinking, Why him? Why not me?” Read his post and you’ll see that he has paid his dues, but the simple truth is that, if I had been asked to make a list of the authors I think deserve a publishing contract, I would have put Richard Mabry right at the top of the list. What isn’t so easy is to have that same attitude with some of the other authors I encounter and yet that is the Christian attitude.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself. – Philippians 2:3

Our natural temptation is to cheer others on when we think it will help us. You know, karma and all that stuff. We might pat someone on the back in hope that the person will remember us when they make it big and repay the favor, but that isn’t the right attitude at all. If we pay close attention to what Paul told the Philippians, our goal isn’t to make ourselves better than others or to be seen as more important than others. We are to see others as more important than we are.

We want to think that when one author gets an agent in two years, we ought to get one in a year. If one author gets $100,000 for a book, then we ought to get $200,000. That author is no more important than I am, so why should she get more than me? But the proper attitude is good for her; she deserves it more than I do.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. – Romans 12:15