For Self, Or Service

 Most of us will face times where we wrestle with the option of selfishness or servitude. This is to be expected because caring for our own needs and desires is quite natural. Caring for others and seeking areas to serve others over our own needs however is unnatural, unless we are being submissive and obedient to our Lord’s promptings. Although there are various and numerous ways selfishness competes with our call to serve, there are at least three areas of high vulnerability:

Possessions: We like having nice stuff and there’s nothing innately wrong with that. However, having served in the financial industry for over 17 years, I have seen how the desire for more is destructive to many. For the savings rate in America ranks among the lowest in all the developed world, and overwhelming debt has many enslaved. However, as Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A points out in his book, Is Wealth Worth It, money and our possessions can either be used for good by helping others, or they can end up “owning” us. The question is which will we choose? It is either a life of freedom through giving, or enslavement through the obsession of getting (Luke 6:38).

Positions: We have seen enough evidence in this world and throughout history how power reveals the heart of man and how absolute power often times corrupts absolutely. However, if we begin using the authority and influence we have to help and serve others, rather than solely ourselves, great things can happen. I have seen this throughout my career in the various bosses I have had. Some were clearly in it for themselves, and were quite abusive in their managerial expectations. This sobering reality helped me realize how great an influence people in power have over the actions of others. For I witnessed how self-serving leaders often influenced others in becoming selfish leaders. However, I’ve also seen how servant leadership influenced a culture of servitude (Luke 22:26). Thus, is our influence promoting self, or service?

Pursuits: Finally, our pursuits often reveal the selfish hearts from the servant hearts. For how often are our pursuits designed to grow our popularity, possessions, positions, power and prestige? When pursuing something, it is vital to consider why and for what purpose. If our pursuits are pure they will lean towards developing the gifts we’ve been given by our Creator, maturing our faith, challenging our selfishness, stimulating our servitude and promoting God’s agenda over our own (Philippians 3:12).

Application: “Sent To Sow” 2 Corinthians 9:6
We reap what we sow. This we know. Thus, begging the question and examination as to what type of seed we are sowing? It can be so easy to live merely for ourselves, try to sprinkle in some good and fool ourselves into thinking we’re living to our fullest potential. This blindspot however only blinds us to the Holy needs and opportunities that surround us. May we instead sow seeds that view possessions, positions and pursuits as gifts from God to be used in serving others and bringing glory to His name. For how did Jesus use His possessions and position? What was His purpose? As we examine His life, it reveals how ours is to be lived as well – to invest our lives in such a way that lifts others, loves others and leads others to the eternal salvation of Jesus Christ.

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