Tuesday, 12 August 2008 16:16 Jonathan L. Perz
As a child, I remember how important I thought it was to be the first in line. I hated waiting and I wanted first dibs at whatever was being offered (unless of course, it was something unpleasant). It is not uncommon to hear a child say, “Me first!” when they are being offered something. There might even be a tussle to be the first in line.
Unfortunately, this same basic spirit is prevalent in many adult Christians. Our thinking might be a bit more sophisticated, but it still boils down to the same basic premise—I am going to look out for my interests first and foremost, even if it is at the expense of everyone else! Is this the spirit a Christian should have?
The apostle Paul admonishes, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). With the right spirit, a Christian must see to his own affairs (cf. Matthew 7:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 11:31, et al). Yet, a close look at Paul’s words, in light of many other passages, reminds us that the right spirit involves putting the interests of others before our own interests. For many this is the hard part!
A selfless spirit is necessary to be able to truly deny ourselves (Luke 9:23-26), to sacrifice (Philippians 2:17), to not exercise our liberties to the detriment of others (1 Corinthians 10:32-33), to serve and minister (Galatians 5:13) and to love (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Selflessness must be a foundational quality in any Christian. Are we selfless in spirit or selfish in spirit? Are we only selfless when we have to be or all of the time? Are we selfless in the little things, as well as the big things? Please think on these things...