As Susan began to get Connor ready for bed, the doorbell began to ring repeatedly. Kid after kid came through our neighborhood for the annual “trick or treating.” I got tired of getting up and down to pass out candy so I decided to get out my camping chair and sit on the front porch. I was amazed at how creative some of the costumes were and frankly, disappointed in the lack of effort by others.
Due to the extreme flow of children coming through our neighborhood, I chose to give each child three pieces of candy. After all, Halloween candy is NOT cheap. After passing out candy for roughly 30 minutes, it happened. A young boy which I would guess was in 4th grade came up to me and said, “Trick or treat.” I reached into my big bowl of candy and got three pieces of candy and dropped them into his bag. Then this young boy looked into his bag and said, “That’s it?!” “I want more candy!” I immediately felt my blood pressure rise and the desire to “set this boy straight”, but I refrained. I took a second and said, “I didn’t have to spend money on candy for you tonight; but I did.” I continued, “However; I don’t like it when people are selfish and only think of themselves, so get a moving.” The young boy rolled his eyes and went to the next house. But then a very comical event occurred. I was unaware of the very large crowd of children that were waiting in line to get some candy. I began to hear them say; almost in a surround sound kind of way, “I am not selfish.” “I am thankful for the candy I get.” All I could do was sit there and smile. Due to their kind words I gave all of them some additional candy.
How often have we as children of the Most High approached Him with selfish petitions and requests? Frequently as I look back on life I come to the understanding that many times I am selfish with my requests and expectations. It is as if I am trying to turn Jehovah God into a genie that is there to fulfill my every want and desire. Instead of asking God for opportunities to be a blessing to others, I make it all about myself. I am reminded of Philippians 2:21 – “For everyone looks out for his own interest, not those of Jesus Christ.” So how can we become selfless servants for Christ?
Change our mind set. We must decide to think and focus on others and not only ourselves. When a person only cares about and focuses on himself, it prevents a person from establishing and experiencing true and genuine relationships. It also hinders an opportunity for God to act. Romans 12:2 states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Change our perspective. Understand the importance of honoring people as opposed to revering things or money over people. Know that people and good and genuine relationships are more important and more valuable than having money and material possessions. 1 Timothy 6:10 states, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Change our spending habits. Begin to start giving to the poor, widows and orphans via church organizations and charities that help the poor and needy. Giving significantly is one way to combat selfishness. Jesus clearly stated in Luke 16:10-13, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” By giving to others, God is using us to accomplish His will of being good stewards to others. It also allows an opportunity for personal growth of our faith by fully relying on God.
Change our focus. Be sensitive to people’s needs around you in your environment. Discern who may be in need of your help and assistance and reach out to them in a caring manner and help them. This will help to keep the focus off of “self” alone which will help you to be a more whole and healthier person emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Jesus stated, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” When we give to others we are giving back to the Lord and bringing praise to Christ.
A few other verses to consider are Romans 15:1 which reads, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves” and 1 Corinthians 10:24, “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” May we all be able to refocus our lives in ways so that we will be the “light” and the “salt” of the earth which is so desperately needed. My prayer is that we can all overcome our selfish desires and be faithfully used by the King for His glory and honor!