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The Balance of Life – Selfishness

Selfish – Lacking consideration for other people, concerned chiefly with your own profit and pleasure.

You may have heard the story of two friends who met for dinner in a restaurant. Each requested filet of sole, and after a few minutes the waiter came back with their order. Two pieces of fish, a large and a small, were on the same platter. One of the men proceeded to serve his friend. Placing the small piece on a plate, he handed it across the table. “Well, you certainly do have nerve!” exclaimed his friend.

“What’s troubling you?” asked the other. “Look what you’ve done,” he answered. “You’ve given me the little piece and kept the big one for yourself.” “How would you have done it?” the man asked. His friend replied, “If I were serving, I would have given you the big piece.” “Well,” replied the man, “I’ve got it, haven’t I?” At this, they both laughed.

As you can see selfishness is an acquired taste and it always tastes bad when you are on the wrong end of it.  Selfishness is the opposite of service, because service is generated from a giving attitude and selfishness is generated from a taking attitude.  A selfish person will always work things around to where they get the best, or come out on top in almost every situation.  All of us are a little selfish at times, but a person who is consumed with selfishness began just like that, a little selfish.  Selfishness is a beast just waiting to be fed so it can be fed again and again.  What starts out with us getting our “fair share” can soon ramp up to getting everyone else’s share as well.  How does selfishness get out of control? It usually is driven by something out of a person’s past where they were the one that was left out and now that they have some control they “will never go hungry again!!!”  In other words, much like most problem areas of our life, our past is weighing us down.  When we accept Christ we are supposed to have a freedom felt in our life like never before, and we do.  But then that freedom is compromised by the need for fairness.  If I have found one thing out about the Christian life, fairness is few and far between.  Oh I can take revenge myself and manipulate my own fairness, but the base level fairness of life is non existent.  So what do we do?   That’s why in the Beatitudes in Matthew, Jesus continually says to be happy in all circumstances because of knowing Him.  We know He says that because there are going to be plenty of “downers” for those who follow Christ, so we better draw close to Him to be able to handle them.  Paul in writing to the church at Galatia told them to be happy by living in the Spirit.  In 5:16 he says, “My counsel is this; Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit.  Then you won’t feel the compulsions of selfishness.”  It looks like it comes down to what motivates you.  If you want to be recognized for something you do for Christ, then your motivation is self promotion.  If you hope to get some personal gain from serving Christ, then your motivation is self profit.  If your main desire for serving someone is to get someone to look at you, then your motivation is self payoff.  Do you notice the key word in each one these sentences? SELF!  Just like in the story at the top of the blog, we don’t care what it takes for us to get the biggest or best of anything, we just want to get it.  We are selfish.  Paul in continuing to teach the Christians at Galatia gave them a stern warning about a selfish heart when in Chapter 6:7 he says, “Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God.  What a person plants, he will harvest.  The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others-ignoring God.”  The story A Christmas Carol deals with this very subject with a man by the name of Ebenezer Scrooge.   You don’t have to do it just at Christmas time to be a Scrooge though.  If you are out to self promote or self pay, you are a Scrooge.  If you are out to beat others at all costs (including cheating) you are a Scrooge.  If you try to think you will not have consequences for your actions, you are a Scrooge.  Our attitude should be the same as Christ, in that, He humbled Himself, even to the cross, so that we could have true freedom.  NOT SELFISH, BUT SELFLESS!!  Now that’s what I call The Real Deal!!  Try to be the real deal and live as a free person, who is free from those things of the world, and live freely in the new life Christ has put in each of us servants.

The Pilgrimage continues….

David Warren

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