Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘selfishness’

Three no-no’s

What are the worst sins that Paul mentioned in his letter to the Christian believers at Philippi?  This letter of his is amazingly positive, especially given the fact that he writes it as he languishes in a dark, dank, dismal Roman dungeon for the crime of sharing his faith.  And the prohibitions contained in it are remarkable in their seeming triviality—at least, compared with the “heavy” sins mentioned in his letters to other churches.  Or are they?

The three things that Paul forbids these people to do are these:

–acting out of selfish or prideful motives (2:3,4)

–grumbling and arguing  (2:14)

–worrying (4:6)

All of us would have to confess that we’ve done these quite regularly.  Why would they be a big deal to God, anyway?  In each of these, our eyes are turned on ourselves and our own situation, rather than on God and on others. 

The antidotes follow:  Look at God and others instead of at ourselves.

Pride & selfish motives are countered by an attitude of service.  Paul reminds us repeatedly to be concerned about one another’s welfare above our own (2:3-4, 20-21).  In this, Jesus is our supreme example, who set aside his glory to lower Himself to the weakness of human existence and then still further to an ignominious death on a cross—all for our benefit. (2:5-11)

Grumbling is countered by serenity.  Paul shares how he (in prison!) has learned to be content in any and every situation, in good times and in unspeakably difficult circumstances.  He can manage this attitude through God’s strength.(4:11-13)

Worry is countered by awareness of God’s sufficiency.  Prayer about our every concern, along with thanks to God, will bring God’s peace to guard our minds from anxiety.  (4:6-7)

The Good Life

I pulled a book off the shelf yesterday—The Good Life, by Chuck Colson who is now just beginning to enjoy the pleasures of life in heaven.  On that same day, our friend Dick Elkins entered the Lord’s presence.  Both of these men are heroes—one very much in the public eye, initially infamous but transformed into a servant of God and of lowly prisoners.  The other served God and lowly tribal people in an obscure corner of the world, translating the Bible into their language and encouraging many (including us) with his joy and pursuit of excellence.

The other day I read 1 Samuel chapter 25 in which two men died:  Samuel was well loved and deeply mourned.  He had served God his whole life.  On the other hand, Nabal’s demise was “good riddance!”  A fool whose life served his selfish interests. 

And I must mention the keen disappointment I experienced recently upon learning the truth about Thomas Kinkade, who apparently veered off the path somewhere along the way.

So who among all these enjoyed “the good life”—life worth living?

And what about me?
 Is my life a wise investment? 
When I’m gone, will people mourn or rejoice, be relieved or disappointed in me?       What part of God’s kingdom am I helping to build?

Tag Cloud