Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), the great preacher, asked the operator of a local livery stable for the best horse he had. Brooks explained, “I am taking a good friend for a ride and I want the very best for the occasion.” As the livery man hitched up a horse to a buggy, he said, “This animal is about as perfect as a horse could be. It is kind, gentle, intelligent, well-trained, obedient, willing, responds instantly to your every command, never kicks, balks, or bites, and lives only to please its driver.” Brooks then quietly said to the owner, “Do you suppose you could get that horse to join my church?”

Yes, what a powerful church we could have if we all had those qualities! We are naturally prone to think only of our own desires and wishes and to forget the good of others. Paul said in Romans 15:2, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.”

The more we grow in grace, the more we will think about the needs of others. In our church life we should not think only of ourselves but always be willing to yield our desires for the good of the whole. Our example is the Head of the church, Jesus Christ, for even He “did not please Himself” (v.3).

What kind of church member are you? —M. R. De Haan, M.D. (founder of RBC Ministries)