Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.…
It is impossible for a man to esteem another better looking than himself, when he is only half as good looking. There may be a difference between men in appearance, but if a man is six feet high he cannot say of another man who is only three feet high, "I think he is taller than I am," and be a truthful man. If a man is sagacious and he knows it — as he generally does — he cannot say that a wool gatherer is smarter than he." If a man is generous and kind, he cannot make himself believe that a stingy man is better than he. But this is not the idea. Paul meant simply that a man who is using his whole self for other men, and is striving to help others instead of helping himself, is putting himself below others, or esteeming them better than himself. The mother esteems the child as better than herself in that sense. If either of the two is to lie awake she lies awake. She lies awake that the child may go to sleep. If either she or the babe is to go hungry it is not the babe. She esteems the babe better than herself in the sense that she gives herself away for it; that she bestows her thought and feeling and care on its behalf. Paul means that when we love our fellow men, we ought to be in that general spirit which shall lead us to feel that service rendered to others at some inconvenience, and it may be suffering, is a great deal better than rendering service to ourselves. And it comes back again to that other form, "Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself."
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.