Elder, David “Doc” Kenser, shares a daily devotion and reflection.
When people make a selfish choice, often destructive or ill advised, they often say something like, “It’s my life, I can do what I want!” In a land built on the notion of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” personal freedom and individual choice is held at a premium. For many, it trumps (no political pun intended) every other consideration.
Men, and a growing number of women, leave their families in pursuit of personal fulfillment or desire. They say things like, “It’s time to take care of me” or “I need to follow my own life” or “I just need to be me.” Translation: “I just need to selfishly do what I want.” It reminds me of the old Schlitz beer commercial, “You only go around once in life. Grab all the gusto you can” (apparently that gusto was easier to grab if you had a six-pack).
Even in the Christian community you hear, “God just wants me to be happy.” Really? Is that indeed the teaching of the Bible? Not! What the Bible has to say is quite to the contrary: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved” (1 Cor 10:31-33).
What if God so loved himself that he did not send his only Son so that we could believe on him and live (cf. Jn 3:16)? What if Jesus’ prayer in the garden ended in “yet not your will but mine be done” (cf. Mk 14:36)? What if the Holy Spirit refused to dwell in us, preferring the heavenly abode?
Do you catch my drift here? The teaching and the example to the Lord is selfless not selfish. We are not called as Christians to get all the gusto we can, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (Rom 13:14). We are here to share all the grace that we can.
Getting all you can for yourself is not only unbiblical, it is unsatisfying: ‘In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ ” (Acts 20:35). We are created in the image of God, who is a giver, not a taker. For us to fulfill our creative design, we must focus on giving, not getting.
While we are created with the autonomous ability of personal choice, the choice that serves to bring us closer to God and more in keeping with our purpose in life is to think of others first. We are called to be like Jesus, who “came to serve, not be served” (Mt 20:28). Jus’ Say’n.