S196P19 – Growth spurts: selflessness

Jn. 15:13

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

The moment she stepped off the plane and entered the airport, she could tell this was a much different place.  She had expected to learn a lot on this first mission trip, but she did not think that anything would draw her attention so quickly.  What she noticed was that she was no longer in a first-world country.  Everything seemed to be run down and almost as if it were taken from some long-ago time and dropped into the 21st century.  It was not only the infrastructure of that place but also the people there.  Even those who had a lot did not seem to have much by her standards or at least not much that was nice.  All of this made her re-evaluate what she had spent so much of her resources building back home for herself.  She not only returned home from that trip a changed woman, but she returned home two suitcases lighter.

I had similar instant revelations when I first became a Christian.  There were many things which had eluded my attention for so long but which became abundantly clear and unsettling once the Spirit resided within me.  One of my first convictions was selfishness.  We might think of someone being selfish in a material way but forget that this kind of attitude deals with a lot more than tangible things.  The selfish person becomes the most important in his or her own eyes.  The selflessness God wants us to have and increase over the duration of our transformation is simply a focus on others being first.  Whether it is an issue of money, possessions, time, energy, or attention, He wants us to focus on others before we focus on ourselves.  In reality, this attitude is rooted in our trust in God for all things.

The hungry man who feeds his hungry neighbor before himself trusts that God will feed him in turn.  The same goes for the poor woman who spends her last dime to meet the need of another while hers remain unmet.  Selflessness means that we do not feel the need to focus on ourselves because we know that God will take care of us.  It also means that we understand that we have everything we need in him.  Focusing on what we have in God will highlight what we have to give instead of drawing our eyes to what we lack.  As our desire to be the hands and feet of Christ grows, our selflessness will grow by default, even unto the ultimate sacrifice.  Father, increase in us the desire to serve and care for others, to see them as greater than ourselves, and to trust that You will care for us in turn.