I have always wanted to be the sort of person who extends grace to those in need. Who stops at the red light and gives my cash to the homeless vet. But something gets in my way.
I like to pretend it is cynicism, or knowledge of the brokenness of men and women, that causes me to hold back. But that is simply not true. It is selfishness. Pure and simple. My time, my money, my convenience, my schedule, my everything is more important than that man on the side of the road.
And yet I read in the New Testament that the difference between those who receive a Well done from their Father in heaven and those who receive a DEPART FROM ME is not their theology. It’s not their tithing. It’s not their tax bracket. It’s what they DO with their time, their money, their convenience, their schedule, their everything.
So what can I do, in light of this recognition that I am all about me? I only have two choices:
Move on, aware of my narcissism
I can act as though nothing has changed. Live the same life I have always lived, only with eyes wide open about the nature of my heart. I can accept that I am all about me, and walk on.
Change, a little bit, every day from this day forward
I can fight the fight against the evil that is within my heart. The whiny self that cries for attention. For love. For time. For stuff. And I can give the best of all I have to those who truly have need.
I choose to change. I know there will be days I fall back into a self-love, and forget about everyone else. But I don’t want the legacy of my life to read like this: “He loved himself well and often.”
I don’t quite know what this is going to look like for me moving forward, but I know this—I need to get over ME.
What can you do today to get over yourself?
I struggle immensely with putting others before myself… You would think that after years and years with walking with the Lord, that it would get easier. I’m still in process.
Brave man, hope it challenges many
This: “the difference between … Well done and … DEPART FROM ME is not … theology… It’s what they DO.” Yep. Time to get over me. I find it so easy somehow to forget Jesus’ real kind of love for the needy. The kind that truly loves. And then, if I do drop a coin in the can or whatever it is, I get all high and mighty. As if THAT is love. It is so not about me. Thanks for the great reminder, Chris. You’ve got me thinking.
Probably just stop being so angry, and a little more grateful.
I didn’t even think about how amazed by myself I feel whenever I am generous. You bring up another level of self-centeredness. One that I am not sure I am ready to deal with 🙂
All joking aside, thank you for upping the ante in my desire to honor God with my everything
I hope so too. Truthfully, just sharing my own journey toward maturity. Even if everyone else thinks it’s lame, I bring some sense of accountability to my own life by writing and publishing about this topic.
It feels like all of American culture is against us in this move toward an outward-focused life. Figuring this out is HARD
Chris – I’ve been involved in working with the poorest of the poor for a while now — even then, there are occasions when I struggle with “me”. Compared to 80 percent of the world, the little I have is ten times more than they have. I try very hard to be content with what I have, to be thankful for what I have, and to do what I can to share the love and hope provided through God’s mercy and grace. Getting to the place I am did not happen overnight, although there was “that day” when I was confronted with reality and it all started to make sense. Continual prayer for wisdom and insight is a good place to begin.
Kathleen, I will be praying for you to see the blessings God gives you. It’s pretty easy, especially when life goes a bit haywire, for us to forget the favor He showers on us. Let me know if there is anything specific I can do to help you in this, okay?
Well bro, appreciate your prayers and moral support, and you certainly have mine.
baby steps=BIG CHANGE! Way to go Chris!
You’ve given me a lot to think about here. I need to focus much more intentionally on the blessings God has put in my life. It would probably also do me some good to get a reminder about how the poor really live. I’ve been enjoying suburban life a bit too much
oops! Sorry about that. 😉 Living in Europe, we encounter a lot of people sitting against the wall, waiting for walkers-by to give them money. Every.time. I don’t know what to do when I see it. Sometimes I’m cynical. Sometimes I’m happy to drop in some change. Sometimes I just make sure to look them in the eyes and smile at them (because often they just look so ashamed). I read once about giving to such people and the challenge was: God has asked us to give. What that person does with the money is between them and God. So — what will I do? It’s helped me to think that way. But still, struggle to get over myself. Because, like you said, it’s not about me.
Amazing how so much of it (all of it) can be boiled down to selfishness. I chose a One Word this year it is “inconvenience” That’s where biggest blessing and lessons are found. Good post, Chris.
I need to hear this. Think it resonates with all of us.
My One Word was Overcome. I chose to overcome my fear of my seizures, my fear of writing my heart, and my fear of stepping outside my comfort zone. Five month check-up, and all seems well.
It is SO EASY to get in a groove of life where it’s all about us.
Selfishness and pride are roadblocks to being close to God. Striving toward and connecting with God while dieing to our sinful nature is definitely a daily fight. Great post!
Thanks for the encouragement!
Thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement. It is easy to get sucked into ME mode.
Your welcome. It sure is:) Thank you for writing such a great post!