There are multiple examples in the Bible of individuals putting others before themselves. The one in this passage is Abram letting Lot chose first which section of land to settle. Abram would then settle in a different section. He knew they couldn’t stay together because the land couldn’t support them both. Instead of fighting for the best piece of land, he left the decision up to Lot—thereby, putting Lot’s interests first.
1. How does it feel to you when someone puts your interests before their own?
2. How do you feel when you take time to put others’ interests before yours?
Challenge: Take time to put someone else’s interests before yours. (It doesn’t have to be as grand a gesture as what Abram did—could be as simple as letting someone go ahead of you in line or taking time to let someone talk about their day or weekend.)
Okay—you have greeted someone. Now what? Do you just say hello and walk away? Or, do you dare to dive deeper to know this individual? In this passage, we are challenged to consider others and their interests. Alternatives that might get closer to this could be: What plans do you have after work/church? What books have you read that you would recommend?
1. How do you feel when others ask you about your interests or plans versus just talking about their own?
2. Who could you get to know better?
Challenge: Make an effort to ask someone new about their interests
In this passage, James is talking about favoritism and how we should avoid showing any favoritism. We should greet all those around us including individuals who aren’t like us. Jesus doesn’t show favoritism amongst us so we shouldn’t either.
1. Why is it easier to greet those that are like you?
2. Have you stepped out of your comfort zone and greeted someone who is not like you?
Challenge: Greet someone who is not like you
Jesus states the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. We all have a natural desire to be acknowledged or welcomed by someone, so just as we would want someone to greet us, we should greet them.
1. How do you feel when someone greets you?
2. Do you tend to gravitate more to places where you feel welcomed versus those where no one acknowledges you?
Challenge: Greet someone new today.
In this verse, Jesus is challenging us to greet not only those that we know, but everyone. Just as Jesus did by welcoming any and all to come to him, we should do the same. We can do this by simply greeting those around us versus just going about our day.
1. When is the last time you reached out to greet someone you don’t know?
2. If the thought of greeting someone you don’t know is out of your comfort zone, what might help you do this?
Challenge: Greet one person you don’t know today.
There is happiness in what is good. We often find ourselves trying to dredge through the darkness. Let your light shine, piercing through the darkness which tries to drown out all that is good.
1. How would you rate your commitment to building healthy relationships with those are in need?
2. How would it look if we all took the time to develop a healthy relationship with just one person who has a significant need?
Challenge: Flip the switch and turn on the light – the light of hope for others. Let your light shine through the negativity and all the darkness that seems to plague the world today. Take a stand against yourself and choose not to continue on the same path. Make the decision to answer God’s call for those in need.
God calls for an end to all things which cause opposition among us and lead to the destruction of relationships. We should not speak poorly of others, nor should we give false judgment.
1. Analyze the last time you placed judgment on someone in need.
2. How has this series caused you to possibly look at that situation through a different lens?
Challenge: One of the greatest gifts God has given us is the ability to change. Reflect back on an event when you did not perform just as God calls us to do. Is there something you could have done differently which would have led to a more positive outcome for someone in need? Can you make an opportunity to do that event over again?
If we are doing what is true to the Lord we cannot fail. His power and wisdom will never lead us astray if we only take the time to listen to His almighty word and follow His direction.
1. Are your acts of giving based on your intentions or lead by the Lord?
2. When you give, do you seek the approval of others or the approval of the Lord?
Challenge: Do you call upon the Lord for wisdom and guidance before giving assistance? What we think is best may not always be correct. Take the time to pray and seek His guidance with all that you give. Following His direction will never be wrong.
Honest and sincere assistance for those in need does not discriminate, nor does it have boundaries. Giving aid equally regardless of status, race, color, gender/gender association, sexual preference or otherwise is essential. We should never hide from those in need.
1. Have you ever passed by the opportunity to help someone because you chose to judge them based on false pretenses?
2. When was the last time you felt challenged to give assistance and did not?
Challenge: Step outside your comfort zone and reach out to someone you would normally pass by. Even better, give assistance to someone whom you may feel a great deal of negativity towards.
Going through the motions simply for the sake of doing so or because of guilt is fanfare. Are we casting good deeds unto others just for show or out of piety? Insincere acts of kindness are merely actions without a soul.
1. Analyze the reason behind the last time you choose to help someone?
2. Are you able to give assistance to some anonymously, simply walk away without recognition, and never seek credit for doing so?
Challenge: Think of five ways you can secretly assist someone in need. Pick one of those deeds from your list and make it a reality. Once you have completed this deed simply move on without telling anyone of your assistance to another.