I recently introduced my girls to “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.” They’re fixated on this show now, in the same way that I was at their age. Why is Mr. Rogers so universally and timelessly beloved? It’s because the “Most Interesting Person” may grab our attention, but it’s the “Most Interested Person” that grabs our hearts.
Any and everyone that Fred Rogers spoke to was the most interesting person in the world, because he took such great interest in who they were, how they felt, and what they loved. [Watch his response to the woman, playing violin, in this episode from 17:04-17:24.] We can be so quick to think and talk about ourselves that we never really listen to people. And those we don’t listen to, we don’t know. Those we don’t know, we don’t love. Mr. Rogers was a pro at listening and paying attention to others. In his neighborhood, everyone felt special.
Jesus had much to say about selflessness during His earthly ministry. His first commandment was to love God completely, and His second was to love your neighbor as yourself. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that the Christian is expected to love even the unlovable, because this is how we become more like God, who gives blessings to everyone (Matthew 5:45).
In Philippians we’re told that in coming into this world, “[Jesus] made himself nothing” and took upon Himself “the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). Now, as followers of Christ, we are to “have the same mindset” (Philippians 2:5).
Selflessness runs counter to human nature, which is why being selfless is so much more difficult than being selfish. Somewhere deep within each of us is a self-centered, self-preserving and gratifying nature that is brought on by sin, and popular culture can be so good at encouraging that in us. Yet, the example of Jesus still calls out to me a a better way:
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- Who do you see everyday, but not know very well?
- Who around you could really benefit from your Christlike attention and care?
- Who will you love, "as you love yourself", this week?
[BELOW] more fun articles about selflessness displayed in our culture: