Lately, my wife and I have been talking about the various seasons of life people find themselves in and specifically the season we are in – young kids, school, new home, work, small group, and a busy schedule with even more things to do and less time to do them!
I think almost anyone you talk to will respond in a similar way, although the circumstances may be different – maybe you’re trying to get into college, land that first job, keep that girlfriend/boyfriend, work up the money to buy an engagement ring and propose, buy your first house, upgrade the car, deal with a challenging work environment, losing a job, changing careers, starting a family, increased finances, loss of finances, growing your marriage, trying to repair a damaged one, personal tragedy, sickness, family problems, raising kids, watching your kids leave the nest, grandchildren, retirement, death of a spouse or family member… the list is endless. With so much going on at any given moment it is hard to stop, to pause, and just be. We are busy, busy, busy… time may be our most valuable asset but sadly it is probably the most abused.
We live in a culture that thrives on endless connectivity (there is a lot more to say about this but I’ll reserve for another time), the internet, social media, Facebook, phones, apps, news, NetFlix, Hulu, entertainment, reality TV, music, eCommerce, money, materialism, sports, fashion, etc. Unfortunately most of these activities center around, cater to, satisfy, and serve ME. I don’t have time for YOU… did you see the list mentioned above and all the other demands/challenges/to-do’s that I did not have time to write about? I’m struggling just to take care of and maintain ME, let alone anyone else outside of my immediate family.
When’s the last time you held the door for someone, bought the person’s coffee behind you in the Starbucks drive through, prayed for someone else’s needs instead of your own, gave of your time and money for a cause greater than yourself, spent time mentoring the next generation of leaders, really focused on your spouse’s needs/desires and did it with no strings attached, cancelled that golfing outing to spend time with your kids, wrote a friend a letter, asked a neighbor if they needed help, gave a gift to someone who has been influential in your life, served in your church or charity, or really took time to get to know the people that work for you in your organization? This is not meant to be a guilt trip but to make us all stop and pause long enough to see how selfish we may have become and to find ways in our daily life to move the spotlight off of ME and onto YOU. Whether you are a Jesus follower or not, our world would be a much better place if more people asked, “What can I do for you?”, instead of “What’s in it for me?”
I challenge you to broaden your view and fight the tendency to become narrowly and selfishly-minded. On one paticular Sunday, our pastor mentioned that when worry grips us the best thing to do is immediately pray for someone else’s need. This will not only put our own circumstances/challenges in perspective but will also help us trust God with our own needs. Make a difference in someone else’s life today. Be a light. Be an encouragement. Be compassionate. Be generous. Be caring. Be sympathetic. Be hospitable. Be a blessing. Be a servant. Be YOU-focused outwardly.
Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT)
34 “Then the King [Jesus] will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f]you were doing it to me!’