The true joy of life

English: George Bernard Shaw, Nobel laureate i...

English: George Bernard Shaw, Nobel laureate in Literature 1925 Deutsch: George Bernard Shaw, Nobelpreisträger für Literatur 1925 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

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The SelfLESSness Challenge–Day 1

So in my previous post I challenged myself (and you guys!) to do one good thing anonymously for someone today.
So–how did I fare?

It was hard work actually. I am a bit of an…energetic…driver (which I’ve been trying to improve) so I thought I could kill two birds with one stone and bless someone while I was driving. I tried twice to let someone into my lane ahead of me when they were signaling to try to get into my lane. But both times they totally ignored me, even though I waited a significant time to let them in! I was confused.

But I doggedly tried one last time–in rush hour as we were creeping along I let someone from one of the side roads out into my lane! I was so stoked!

How did you guys fare?

Now–on to tomorrow! 😀

Let your light shine, so others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (CEV)

A Hazard of Being Single

I must confess that it snuck up on me slowly.  Perhaps over the course of years really.  I didn’t even notice it until it struck me in the face–I am incredibly SELFISH.

Call it what you will–being self absorbed, ego-centric, narcissistic, self-centered–it still comes down to self.  Me.  I.

I found myself using these words a lot (me, I) and when I purposely tried to have conversations with others without using ‘me’ or ‘I’ I found it very difficult.  How disappointing!

It is part of our challenge as human beings and perhaps more so for us North Americans to not always be “looking out for number one” (yes, that is a Randy Bachman song…).

And it is a particular hazard for singles.  It can happen quite insidiously.  We don’t have to ask anyone’s opinion for most things.  We don’t have to take into account anyone else in most of our choices.  If I want to go to a movie Friday night with my friend I just go (sometimes HER husband has to be consulted!).  If I want to come home and have toast for supper, if I’m OK with it, it’s OK.  There isn’t really the need to ‘look out for the interests of the others’  (Philippians 2:4  NIV) when you’re by yourself!

How have I seen this manifested most recently in my life?

I did something very minor anonymously the other day for a stranger and I got so excited and was so proud of myself and thought how awesome a Christian I was!  Yes, I know…and it really was a VERY minor thing.  So why this response?

The answer was quite disturbing to me:  I don’t think of others very often so that when I do it must be celebrated…that saddened me.  As a Christian I should ALWAYS be thinking of others.  A little mnemonic I learned in Sunday School (head knowledge only, apparently) was the definition of the word JOY–we should think of Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last to have real joy. Hmmm…

Christ, of course, is the perfect example of this.

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, he 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    
by becoming obedient to death—        
even death on a cross!  Philippians 2:4 – 8

And He did all this for others!  He did what He did for the glory of His Father, and to bring salvation to us.  Nowhere in the Bible do we hear of Christ doing things for Himself.  He is always doing what the Father send him to do.  He is always doing things for others.

I guess what I’m saying is that it might be very easy for us to fall into this temptation of selfishness because of where we live and because we might be alone a lot but now that we are aware of it we can fight it!  God will give us a way out from this temptation!

Perhaps what we need is practice.  To be able to run 10k one must do it often and regularly so as to have the endurance, the muscle power and the mindset to do it.  Ok, so then from now on I need to practice thinking of others:  I will do one thing every day for someone else that they won’t know about.  With this goal in mind I will have to keep my eyes open to see where I can help others and for an appropriate opportunity.

I will challenge you to do the same and share your successes (and failures…) with me so we can encourage one another in with this goal!  Instead of being selfISH, let’s be selfLESS like Christ!