Pleasing Others, Not Ourselves
We are called to serve others and care for our neighbors, but what does it mean for small groups? Allow us to look to what Paul says in Romans 15:1-2, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” Or another way of saying it might be: that we are to please others, and not ourselves. Paul isn’t being condescending here when speaking of weak vs. strong. Indeed, his aim is for “harmony in accordance with Christ Jesus” (v.6). Yet in order to gain such harmony, we are called to address the spiritual needs of those who we are able to serve, just as Jesus had done by coming to us and sacrificing Himself on the Cross (v.3).
Personal Connection Takes Time (And That’s OK)
As we sacrifice for others, serve others, and please others just as Christ had done for us, we make a personal connection with those that we care for. This isn’t “pleasing” others in the manner that neglects their spiritual needs or enables them to continue sinning. Instead, we effectively “become all things to all people” as encouraged to do in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, while also “bearing one another’s burdens and fulfilling the law of Christ” as communicated in Galatians 6:2. It is this type of connection that takes time as we build long lasting relationships. Should we enter into our small groups with this expectation in mind, then our season as small group leaders will be blessed tremendously as we enjoy the journey that the Holy Spirit has in store for us.
Follow on Twitter @SeanBuono
This blog has a focus on small groups, men's ministry, and youth ministry. Join us for the journey by subscribing and sharing this post!