Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (ESV)
A number of years ago, I was a youth pastor at a small Baptist church. It was a wonderful experience for the most part and I was mentored by a great pastor who helped me learn much about the ministry. The church was well attended. The youth group was growing. We were getting to the point where we really needed a church van to transport the teens.
I waited until our next business meeting and I was ready to present the need for a church van to the church. I had researched the cost of vans. I was only looking for a few thousand dollars for a used vehicle. I knew that the church had no debt and over $600,000 in the bank. So, we got the van, right? No, the request was denied. Why? I was told, "If we spend money on a van we cannot collect interest on that money."
This is just one example of many how churches look to their own interests, yet ignore the interests of others. From my perspective of youth pastor I viewed that van as a means of reaching more teenagers with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. From a self-absorbed church they viewed the expenditure as a threat to their accumulation of wealth. Financial interest was more important than the interests of others.
Paul's admonition is for the Philipppian believers and for believers of every age. It is so easy for us to focus on ourselves. Paul helps us to see that if our faith in Christ is genuine we will have compassion for others. The greatest example of this is Christ himself. He came to Earth to sacrifice his very life for those who were undeserving. We are to love like He loved us.
Think about how you spend your money, your time, and your resources. Is there sufficient evidence that you are looking to the needs of others, not just your own? Ask God to open your heart to give.