Thoughtfulness (Philippians 1:26-30; 2:3-4; Colossians 3:13-17; 1 Peter 3:7-12) considers others, and gives attention and care to their feelings first. It helps us take the load and focus off ourselves, so as to be able to see the needs around us. It is a form of love that seeks to uplift and do good whenever possible. It is the opposite of selfishness, yet, it does not cause us to neglect ourselves because that would be unkind to God's child-you! It is especially appreciated when it is not expected. Bring thoughtful will not allow schedules to take priority over people.
Thoughtlessness, lack of consideration, rudeness, and selfishness are the opposites. These rotten fruits will elevate schedules over individuals to the point of causing us to be rude, callused, and unconcerned. We will fail to see people as of primary importance--as our Lord has called. We will also fail to put love into action. One of the principles of love is that it is not rude, so, real love has good manners.
We are living in the time of urgency, where our time is wrapped up in schedules filled with increasing incivility, discourtesy, and insensitivity toward those we are called to build up. Thus, as Christians, we must be willing and able to set the example by being naturally considerate and thoughtful.
Thoughtfulness is the sweetness of the Christian life. It is the window treatment and decorations that make us sought after and stand out. It will inspire us to be persons who care, love, and are considerate. So, you have to be willing to be honest with yourself and ask, am I courteous and gentle, both at and away from Church and the people I esteem? A Christian must never be unkind to any person for any reason, other than the protection of self and loved ones. We are called to build each other up, and that cannot happen when we are tearing one another down with rudeness, gossip, or ignoring others. Thoughtfulness even translates into how we treat other's time, so be prompt, well groomed, and positive in your outlook, so you can inspire others to be considerate. This character is like a boomerang. The more you throw it out, the more often it returns. The more you give it out, the more you receive consideration in return. But, our motivation is not what we receive, but how we are obedient to our Lord's precepts.
The quality of your character and leadership ability will be proven by your thoughtfulness to others. This is what wins attention and respect as it demonstrates Christ with love. Thoughtfulness must precede your behavior, wherever and whenever you are--from church to the shoe store. It cannot and must not be quenched by others' rudeness or our hurriedness. It must not play favorites. Yes, family and friends will, and should come first, but others must not be squished in the process. Remember that Jesus loves you deeply; so allow that acceptance and love from the God and Creator of the universe infuse you with gratitude so you desire to be considerate even when you do not like the person! As a Christian, we are responsible to model His love. This is not required for salvation, but required for a quality life of excellence, of service, and of contentment. To be inconsiderate is to be irresponsible, and to dirty our Lord's repetition. So, be the person that God has called you to be. Be willing to cultivate the Character of Thoughtfulness toward your family, friends, the body of Christ, and the others God brings into your life.
If you feel, Why should I? No one is thoughtful with me! Consider that Paul faced this, too. Not all of the churches he planted and wrote to, where most of our Epistles come from, were thoughtful to help him in his ministry. Only the church at Philippi stood out with thoughtfulness (Phil. 4:15-16). Remember this: Being thoughtful is an attitude we are to cultivate, a temperament which should flow from us as a proof text that we are right with our Lord, because we are sharing His sensitivity toward people.
Is the Character of Thoughtfulness working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Thoughtfulness from God's most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:
- How do I exhibit Thoughtfulness in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop a better attitude of taking the lead in being thoughtful even if I do not feel like it?
- What blocks Thoughtfulness from working and being exhibited in me?
- How can I make Thoughtfulness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture (Matt. 27:57-61; Mark 8:22-26; Luke 7:36-50; John 19:25-27; Phil. 1:19-30)
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 31:1-16; 1 Sam. 25:1-13; Jonah 4:1-11; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 15:25-32)
- How would you define Thoughtfulness? Do you consider yourself a person who uplifts others? Are you a person who is always in a rush?
- What are the things that cause you not to be thoughtful with others?
- How does being careless counteract Thoughtfulness? How can you be a person who sees the value and importance of work, regardless of what the task is?
- What happens to our relationship with God and with others when we refuse to work our best and/or complain about what we do?
- When have you been filled with Thoughtfulness the most?
- In what situation did you fail to be considerate when you should have been?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with more Thoughtfulness?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Thoughtfulness into action in a specific instance, such as remembering birthdays and anniversaries of significant others. Take careful analysis of your driving habits and business conduct. Show appreciation for others by saying "please" and "thank you," and ask if you are in line with God's Word? Also, consider that always being in a rush will cut you off from life's most precious and needed opportunities. So, be willing to budget your time in order to make the time for others!