What does the word “seeking” actually mean? According to http://dictionary.com, “seek” means “to go in search or quest of.” Synonyms sited for “seek” include to pursue or to follow. So, having defined the word, why should you care what it means?
Do you see that? Jesus told us to love others as we love ourselves and Paul wrote to seek the good of others, to pursue their good, to look for it diligently. We are to show preference for others and their needs. In this world of constant competition and one-upmanship, we as Christians need to be an example of putting others above ourselves and our own needs. That may mean going back in a line further so the harried mom can take your place. It may mean yielding to the driver who cut you off instead of trying to “show them” how they should be driving. It also means fulfilling commitments because others are counting on you to be there when you said you would.
We are to value the interests of others more than we value our own. I can honestly say that my husband Harry has done this for me in more ways than I can count since I had my stroke seven years ago. He may really want to watch a football game on Saturday afternoon, but if I need to go to the library, he will leave the game and take me. More importantly, he takes me cheerfully without one word of complaint. If I need to eat an early dinner because I’m tired, he leaves the news that he enjoys nightly and makes an early dinner for me. In fact, Harry has made almost all of the meals since 2015 when I got home from the hospital. At first, it was because I couldn’t stand long enough to cook or even recall how to do so. But his cooking became a labor of love as he looked for new menu items that would entice me to eat without salt and now, with low potassium, too. There are too many things he does to name them all, but the same man who used to tell me to leave him alone until his game ends now leaves the game behind and helps me with whatever I need. So, what do I think happened? Well, he became more like Christ when he almost lost me in that ER and ICU. I think, although I do not know for sure, that God touched him in a special way while I was healing and the heart that had become accustomed to having me around saw me as more valuable to him. I like to think that we both see more value in each other and put each other’s interest higher than our own. Thus we have been married for almost fifty years and both regularly choose what the other prefers. Harry needs the radio on a high volume when we are traveling in the car because of his hearing deficit. I tolerate the loud noise because I know that he can’t hear the show otherwise. He, in turn, turns the radio down when a loud commercial comes on, especially if it has a lot of bass to it, because he knows that since my stroke I cannot tolerate those reverberations. There is a lot of give and take in our relationship and we work at making it work for us.
But this verse is not focused on marriage relationships. Instead, it focuses on all of our personal interactions with others. When you are shopping and give the clerk a ten dollar bill and they accidentally give you too much change back, do you return to them the extra amount? When you are walking down a crowded sidewalk, do you move to the side so the woman with packages and two small children has room to pass by? During the pandemic, items like toilet paper became hard to find. Did you step back and allow others to have the coveted item, deciding to wait longer to fulfill your own need? There are numerous ways daily in which we can show others that we value their interests above our own. Take a few minutes and think about how you are doing in this endeavor. Don’t beat yourself up because you fall short; we all do sometimes. Rather, strive to do and be better. That’s called growth.
As I write this, I am at my sister’s home in NC. She is adjusting better now and not as negative as before, so that is a praise report. While I am here, I know that my needs have to come secondary to hers, especially since she is going blind and is very unhappy with life in general. So, when I am tired, I stay awake anyway to keep her company because I know that she is lonely. We eat dinner on her time schedule, not mine, because she has to take meds at a certain time daily. In general, I knew before I came that her interests would need to be placed first and because I love her, that has been easy to do, not a sacrifice at all. That being said, I will be here for almost two weeks, so I need to keep my eyes focused on meeting her needs and not my own. For that, I would like your prayers.