We live in a society embroiled in self…self-fulfillment, self-realization, self-help, self-sufficiency, self-esteem. It’s hard to escape the me mindset. A book by Gary Thomas entitled Authentic Faith describes his experience when asked to write an article on selflessness. The magazine editor responded to his article by saying how much he liked it, but could he expand more on the rewards of selflessness?
It can be shocking when we realize how easily we succumb to the siren of self. One day while sitting in a beauty salon, I found myself struggling over a situation, worried, thinking, praying. I was so desperate to hear something from God that I cried out, “Lord please speak to me! Tell me what’s going on!” Right then (I’m not making this up) my eyes fell upon a hair product sitting on the shelf. The name of the product…Self-absorption. Ouch! I knew it was an apt description of my inner turmoil. I was so caught up in my pain, my discouragement, my bewilderment that I failed to recognize the face of narcissism.
Because self-centeredness reflects our natural fallen tendency, it takes effort to overcome. Self-centeredness may say something like, “I’ve served all these years. Let someone else teach Sunday School or take a meal to that new mother or mow the lawn for my elderly neighbor. I deserve a break.” Those of us especially in the Baby Boomer generation know that everything is about us anyway. When we sacrifice we can think we’ve done our part. We’re through. But it’s up to God—not us— to determine when we finish giving beyond our self.
When we stand before our Lord on judgment day do we want to hear the echo of a voice that said, “I’m done” or hear God say, “Well done”?