Do you have days when most of your mental energy is focused on “looking out for number one”? If you do, you’ve probably discovered that those are your most miserable days. The Bible tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to serve one another, to give to each other, to honor each other above ourselves. Nowhere in Scripture does it say, “Grab all you can (of the wealth, the fun, the attention, the glory) in life, because if you don’t take care of yourself nobody else will!” It’s that kind of thinking that got the world into trouble at the very beginning…
Who was the center of Satan’s attention when he sought to be as God and consequently fell from heaven? Who was foremost in Eve’s mind as she ate of that forbidden fruit? They were thinking of themselves, of course. Thus sin entered the world and has continued on to this day.
On the other hand, when Jesus allowed his own death in the most brutal manner devised by man, the one person about whom he was not thinking was himself. By that one eternal act, sin and selfishness were ultimately defeated. Ultimately defeated, but not yet gone from this earth. And so, we have to be careful to stay away from the slippery slide of selfishness. There’s never a day when self-centeredness leads to anything good. (Not even on our birthdays! Not even when we have the flu!) Instead, it leads to a black hole which can never be filled, an evil hunger that can never be satisfied.
Were you, like me, taught this simple definition of JOY as a child? J O Y means Jesus, Others, and You, in that order. That’s how our efforts and our concerns should be prioritized.That’s how we operate when we are at our best. And so, may you find selflessness and joy as you go about this day!