This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as I live it is my privilege – my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I love. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me; it is a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got a hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
-George Bernard Shaw
Wow. I can’t help but think that this is what Christ desired–to be thoroughly used up by God, for us, when He died. And because of this God gave Him the name that is above all names…
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5 – 11 NIV 1984
We are exalted to have the attitude of Christ–to become obedient to God, to not struggle for our own rights, to humble ourselves before God and towards our fellows.
I am amazed living in our world today that someone might find their true joy in sacrificing for others. Our world is obsessed with self, with the individual (as long as it’s me!). Commercials try to convince us that we need to do X or Y because we “deserve it”, as if there is something inherently important in ME versus YOU or US. We have to be better than our neighbour, instead of working WITH our neighbour or FOR our neighbour. We are encouraged to do our own thing instead of working together or doing something for someone else.
I’m just thinking of all the commercials I’ve seen on TV or on the internet or heard on the radio over the last week. Most of them, of course, usually pushing you to materialism through selfish considerations. Check it out yourself. The ones that aren’t inciting us to stuff our bellies with food products that aren’t good for us are exhorting us to be the most popular, the most beautiful, drive the best car, etc, etc, etc…
This is the opposite of George Bernard Shaw and the passage in Philippians–it’s a think of me society instead of a think of you society.
We need to change our thinking. It will be hard. The propaganda is all around us.
But do you know what we’ll find?
That the true joy in life really IS in giving your life for others.