Self is Not the Answer

Most of us have a nagging sense that something is missing.

That’s because most of us neglect some, one or many, things that are essential for a full, meaningful, and complete life:

  • Life purpose and clear direction in the world
  • Making a difference by making the world a better place
  • Loving others in such a way that THEY become better for it

There are others… but they are related to these three (and these are focused on GIVING rather than receiving). Unfortunately, we are usually so caught up in ourselves, our self-purpose, making ourselves better, loving ourselves, that we forget life is not complete unless we ‘give back’, ‘pay it forward’, and ‘pitch in’.

This maybe why the Christian faith tends to be less popular than all the ‘me me me’ focused things out there these days (endless shopping, endless entertainment, endless leisure, etc.) Now, don’t get me wrong, I like shopping, entertainment, leisure, and ‘me me me focused things’ just fine… but we cannot let them rule the day or make the direction of our lives.

There’s a story about Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus is faced with a ‘perfect guy’ (so we are led to think). He is young, rich and powerful and he has been faithful, obedient, and mindful of God. With one sentence Jesus undoes this ‘perfect man’ (Matthew 19:21):

‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.

The man walked away, discouraged, never to be heard from again. You see, even though he SEEMED to be the perfect guy… in the end, he really only cared about himself and what he could GET (his interchange with Jesus started with this rich man asking: “how do I GET eternal life”.

We live in a ME culture… so it’s quite possible some of us have never even considered a life that is ‘other’ focused (like on God, serving the world, or loving others more than self).

It’s worth thinking about… Jesus seemed to think it was the key to true happiness, success, fulfillment… and eternal life.

If Jesus asked you… would you walk away, discouraged, never to be heard from again?

I hope not.