Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:4 Illustration
As China faces increasing isolation, with some countries closing borders over coronavirus fears, an unlikely friend has emerged - historical arch-foe Japan. After decades of war and animosity, donations and Japanese ballet dancers shouting their support are among the gestures that have endeared Japan to Chinese people and state media. News that the Japanese government sent a plane bearing thousands of pieces of protective garments for the hard-hit central city of Wuhan received more than 170 million views on the Twitter-like Weibo platform. China's foreign ministry said it was "extremely touched" by the poetic gift. "The epidemic is temporary, but friendship endures," said foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying, praising photos seen online of Japanese pharmacies with signs saying "Let's go, China!" “We share the same sky.” Worldwide crises like the coronavirus pandemic have a way of reminding us that we share the same sky no matter our race or ethnicity or country of residence. Because we share the same sky, we have to treat each other with justice, fairness, and equity. When our neighbor suffers, that impacts us as well. The struggle of the poor, or homeless, or oppressed, or the undocumented, or those who are food insecure, should be of concern to us all. Notwithstanding our individual circumstances, we all have to breathe the same air and are susceptible to the vicissitudes of life. No particular place can insulate the rich from common diseases, or earthquakes, or hurricanes, or other natural disasters. China has the second-largest economy in the world. Yet the coronavirus has thrown the country’s health care system into chaos and is threatening to throw China’s economy into a recession. Some people think that living in an affluent neighborhood, or driving a luxury car, or earning a very high salary, or having friends in high places means that they have the right to treat others with contempt. I read an article this week that says drivers of luxury automobiles cause more accidents on the road because they tend not to stop for pedestrians or other cars. The article says that many drivers of luxury automobiles drive recklessly because they have a sense of superiority and entitlement and feel as if they should have the right of way and not stop for pedestrians and other drivers. Many politicians sponsor reckless bills designed to benefit their supporters, notwithstanding the negative impact it can have on everyone else. A high number of corporations are indifferent to the endemic racism that exists within their organizations, no matter how many lawsuits are filed by minority employees. Women are still earning about 70 percent of the salary of their male counterparts. People in the black and brown communities are still dealing with racial profiling, no matter how many times we march and protest. If only people would heed Paul’s instruction in Philippians 2:4, and look out for the interests of others as much as they look out for their own interests. Then, the homeless would have shelter, and the hungry would have food to eat, the oppressed would get justice, the chasm between the rich and the poor would be reduced. That is the beloved community Dr. King envisioned in his “I have a dream speech.” Any sense of superiority or entitlement is fool’s gold. We are all destined to live under the same sky until death does us part. And after death, we will have to give account for the way we live on earth. My prayer is that we will all realize it is in helping others that we will get divine help. God will only pour into those who are pouring into others. The love that we give is the love we will receive. Let us, therefore, not merely look out for our own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Prayer- Blessed Lord, please sensitize us to the suffering of others so we can be agents of blessings to those who are in need.