Growing up on a farm in the Midwest, my parents believed in hard work and good manners. My mother was the one who spent the most time teaching my sister and I some of the basics such as: "thank you", "please", "you are welcome". She instructed us on writing thank you notes for gifts which we received, and insisted that we never cut in front of someone in line. These were just the basics that we were expected to live by, and she always pointed out that living with the view of others in mind before considering ourselves was a godly character quality. In fact, she was correct.
Philippians 2:1-11 explains the humility of Christ and how we are to live and walk in His example as believers. Verses 3-4 clearly point to godly behavior: "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others" Then Paul goes on to write about the lowliness of our Lord Jesus Christ who put aside the glories of heaven in order to suffer on our behalf. He paid with His life so we could be free from sin and death. What an example we have in Him.
When we contrast this passage of Scripture with the current culture in which we live, we see a large gap between the way people treat one another and the example of Christ. I cannot count how many times I have been rammed by a shopping cart because another person was in a hurry in line and just could not wait. Then, there was another time when I almost had a car collision with a person bent on taking an open parking spot. I have heard angry words, people being rude and watched others cutting in line with no thought for those who had been waiting. The message was clear: "I am more important than you are." This is precisely what Paul is telling believers to avoid at all costs.
Jesus was a servant-Savior. He came not to be served but to serve, and He calls us to do the same. Good manners are merely an outward evidence that we value other people around us. Showing kindness, being courteous, and thinking of others before ourselves are a reflection of our faith and character. We may be last in line, or we may miss that prime parking spot, but if we humble ourselves and serve others we will bring glory to God. He has placed us here to be a light in a dark place, so let us preach the love of Christ in our words, kind actions and good manners. In this, Christ will be made known to those around us. Selah!