As a second grader Brad ran up the slide at a community playground during a game of tag. He switched direction at the last moment, tripped, and landed hard on his forearm.
During the wait at the E.R. his hand curled upward and the doctor explained the swelling cut off the blood flow to the muscle tissue. Apparently this deprives the muscles from oxygen and nourishment. The risk of permanent nerve- muscle damage and possible disfigurement aka compartmental syndrome frightened me.
In the days that followed, Brad faithfully practiced moving his fingers and shouting for me to come look how God had healed him. Each time, I would happily rush to his side eagerly anticipating to see his fingers move. But day after day, his fingers did not budge even a millimeter. Brad never doubted God was healing him, but I feared.
If only I had faith like a small child!
As a home bound mother, my heart hurt. Not just from fear that my son would not recover. But because nobody from my home church actually visited me either at the hospital or at home. I needed encouragement and felt like my church friends failed me. Didn’t they notice my absence? A phone call would be nice.
When I confronted my closest friend days later in the nicest way possible, she shot back how she felt the same way. Whaaat?
Confused, I questioned her meaning. As I curiously listened, she recounted how I had failed to visit her during her husband’s medical treatments.
Do I have a reason to remain angry if I had not visited her?
Then I really wondered….Do I remember visiting any friend when their children were hospitalized or sick at home?
Looking Out for Others
After a long day at the workplace, I long for personal comfort. My end daily goal is to cook dinner, wash dishes, and finish the evening bedtime rituals as quickly as possible. I desire to prop up my feet, relax, and read my favorite book.
However the bible is very clear on this point: Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).
Really, even after a long day?
Christ’s love inspires us to love others, not our personal comfort (Adeney). Ouch!
Unfortunately that spirit doesn’t always pervade my life.
Most days I attentively meet the physical and emotional needs of my immediate family members. But then I think about that one family member, yeah that one who always needs one more favor.
According to D. King U.D. we should examine carefully who we care for. Consider the following:
- Are husbands only required to care for their wives and children?
- Should we be held responsible for caring for our aging father or widowed mother?
- What about your dependent sister?
- If so, then why only family connections?
- What about all of God’s offspring? (S. Martin)
Reading the bible daily helps me to remember that Christ died for other people too. Even my rivals are really neighbors and I’m required to love them (S. Martin).
And for that reason, I need Jesus’ love to permeate my spirit so that I can love others well.
Signs of Selfishness
According to S. Martin, signs of selfishness can be detected by the following:
- Closing your eyes to other’s needs.
- Shutting your heart to another person.
- Closing your hand instead of giving generously.
- You can’t weep with those who are weeping.
- You can’t rejoice with those who are rejoicing.
- You give money so that you don’t have to give personal attention.
Call To Action
Open your eyes and find someone who has a need that you can meet. Some people may need our time by merely visiting them. Others may need food, clothes, or medical treatment.
Open your heart. Don’t withhold your love from a person. Instead be merciful and forgive.
Open your hand to bless others with what God has blessed you. This reminds me of a time when my son gave away his Gameboy to a foster child who recently moved into a nearby school. Moved by his kind heart, he was rewarded with a newer model a few months later. And I know that our Father in Heaven has good gifts for his children. Opening our hand isn’t always about physical possessions or monetary items. Jesus blessed others with his wise words, healing touch, and his physical presence.
When a friend is sad, sit still and listen. Pray them all the way through the situation and you will be blessed by seeing how God moves.
When a friend is rejoicing over a new opportunity. Focus on the joy instead of the “change.”
Examine your motive for giving money. Do you have time to help, but find it easier to donate money instead? Don’t get me wrong, this is extremely helpful for those who do have the time and lack the resources. However, God changes hearts over time through the process of caring for others.
But, I don’t think I’m Selfish!
Are You Selfish? Give yourself a little Test by answering 10 questions. The higher your score, the higher your tendency to naturally react in a selfish manner. If you scored high, don’t fret! Just confess your natural reaction and ask Jesus to change your heart.
Heavenly Father, I praise you for your generosity. You always see us; help us to see other’s needs. Your hand is always open giving wise words and healing. Help us to give wise words and comfort others through the healing process. You allow us to see your presence; help us to be present for someone else. Jesus, you wept with your friends. Thank you for weeping with us too. Help us to weep for your children. Jesus rejoices when our names are written in heaven. Help us to rejoice with others. Thank you for removing our selfish ways and replacing them with your loving kindness. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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Adeney, W.F. (sermon) Selfishness, Retrieved from https://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/adeney/selfishness.htm
King, D. (sermon) The Evils of Selfishness, Retrieved from https://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/king/the_evils_of_selfishness.htm
Martin, S. (sermon) Our Own and Other’s things, Retrieved from https://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/martin/our_own_and_others’_things.htm