"Me First!"

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By: Karen Ehman
Proverbs 31 Speaker

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 (NIV)

We stopped at the rest area to eat, refill our water bottles, and stretch our legs. It was a long trip from our home in Michigan to my Aunt Patty and Uncle Lee’s place in beautiful northern Wisconsin. This rest area had an interesting gift shop stocked with many items found in nature. There were fascinating snarled pieces of driftwood, many varieties of seashells, multicolored Native American artifacts, dazzling copper bracelets and classic turquoise jewelry. We wandered down the aisles, studying the wonderful treasures before our eyes.


At the end of one aisle sat a display sporting whimsical kitchen mugs, each one personalized with first names. Someone from our group spied it and alerted his siblings to this amusing find. Soon they were giving the rack a spin and looking for something. What was it?


You guessed it! Each of them was looking for his or her own name. They didn’t care if the name of a sibling or friend was printed on the side of those mugs. They longingly looked for their own personal string of letters in a row that would spell out “me.”


We’ve all done the same thing in different ways. When we look at our family reunion pictures or school yearbook, something within us drives us to determine, “Where am I in this?”


Sadly, we often live our lives in a way that also says, “Me first!” Whether it is the plans for the coming weekend or the use of the computer, what we really want to know, whether we say it or not, is: “What’s in this for me?” Because we live in a society that promotes self and self-interests, we find it easy to put ourselves and our wishes ahead of others; to elevate our opinions, to cater to our own wants and to whine as if, “It’s all about me.”


Living the true Christian life is just the opposite. Our actions as followers of Christ should portray to others an inversion of what they see in the world. The world says to look out for “number one,” climb over anyone you need to in order to reach the top, and pamper yourself on a regular basis. We, as Christ-followers, should instead be the ones who go the extra mile, give the benefit of the doubt, and put other’s desires ahead of our own. We should be in the business of being others-centered rather than self-centered.


This doesn’t mean we should never think about our own needs. As today’s verse shows, taking care of yourself and your needs is okay. Just don’t stop there. Take into account the other person, too. Be friendly to your kid brother, gladly give up your afternoon to help mom around the house, let your friend borrow your favorite sweater, allow someone else to go ahead of you in the cafeteria even though you were in line first. Pray for that person as you wait.


Let’s look for little ways to daily lay down our lives for others. It will make us less self-absorbed and more like Christ.


Prayer:
Dear Lord, May You gently nudge me today as I go through life, pointing out to me tangible ways to put others first. Shape my heart to look more like Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Resources:
Do you know Him?


A Young Woman’s Walk with God: Growing More Like Jesus by Elizabeth George


Live It:
Be on the look out for situations that call for you to make a choice between yourself and another person. Choose to put the other person before yourself.


Do something anonymously today that will bless a friend or stranger. Leave a note, send a flower, or set out a special treat to grant them a bright spot in their day.


Think About It:
When in the past has someone else put your wishes unselfishly ahead of their own? What was the result?


Is there an area where you struggle with selfishness in on a consistent basis? What changes do you know in your heart you should make? Make them!! Do it quietly and see if others notice a change in your behavior.


Power Verses:
Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (NIV)


Proverbs 18:1, “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment.” (NIV)


© 2010 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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Tell Us About It:
Who in your life has put your needs unselfishly ahead of their own? How did that make you feel?

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom is the most selfless person I know. As I write this she is currrently working her fingers to the bone to provide for us at her tough job.
What a difference when you look at my life because just the other day my little brother wanted to use my laptop and though I eventually let him, I had quite the attitude about it!

Anonymous Kristen said...

Thanks for sharing about your mom! Sounds like she's a very special person. :)

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