I’ve got lots of good ideas. But here’s a bad one–focus on yourself. Center your life on you. We, as Christians, know that it’s about Him. And others. No, we’re not left out. For the Bible says to ‘love our neighbors as we love ourselves'(Leviticus 19:18). That’s right–love yourself. But make sure it doesn’t begin and end there.
To love ourselves is to bask in Jesus’ love for us. To wade in His forgiveness. To relish joy whenever someone else’s needs are being met. To give is much better. A few years back, my wife Sue and I attended a Samaritan’s Purse ‘Operation Christmas Child’ training event. Giving to needy kids around the world.
It was suggested that we give Life-Savers candies. Why? Because the children love to share them with their sisters and brothers. These kids have never been able to give anything to anyone To share even one piece of candy gave them more joy than we could ever imagine.
King Hezekiah certainly had a lot to learn about being less ‘I’ oriented. You can find his story in Isaiah 39. Hezekiah had been healed by the Lord, blessed with an extra 15 years of life. The royal family, of the world power Babylon, sends envoys to present gifts on the occasion of Hezekiah’s healing. He’s so happy with the gifts, all the attention and hoopla. He’s the star of the show! It’s all about Hezekiah! And he leads the delegation everywhere, showing off all his gold and silver, spices and precious oils, his weapons and storehouses. All of it is his. ‘Me…I…My’–strung as tight as a new tennis racket. Anything of God bounces off his proverbial strings.
Nothing about the Lord’s healing him. Nothing about God’s provision. Nothing about God at all. Isaiah confronts Hezekiah about his foolish display of the material assets and armaments of Judah. Hezekiah has left the country vulnerable to a crippling attack. He told them too much, and bragged about himself. A very bad idea.
How about a good idea for a change? Here’s one–start praising the Lord, giving Him all the credit He deserves. Reaching out to others, thinking more about them and their needs. When someone opens up to you about the troubles and frustrations of their lives, don’t jump in to tell them about your own. How much worse things are for poor-old-you. Listen to them. Care about them. Pray for them. Think about ways you can show how much you care…about them. I have a feeling that our moods will noticeably lift when we do. Agreed? Good idea!
Prayer: Lord, help us to focus on you and others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.