Have you ever watched two toddlers playing? They are constantly fighting over toys. Every now and then you will hear one yell: “Mine! Mine!” Then the tug of war over the toy will start with both of them screaming in frustration. Eventually one will win and the other will be crying. Strange enough the winner won’t play with that toy for long. The toy will soon lose its appeal and the whole scenario will be repeated, this time with another toy.
Why do toddlers behave like this? Well, they shows us what we as humans, inherently look like. We are selfish creatures that seldom have regard for other people. Yes with time, we learn manners. We learn to adjust our behaviour to the point where we are acceptable to society. We don’t scream and fight over toys anymore. But that same character trait manifests in other areas of our lives.
Let me give you some examples of the adult version of this selfish behaviour.
The couple who comes into church, only to find a visitor sitting on their regular seats. Instead of being happy to have a visitor in church, they are angry that their seats are taken. “My seat! Mine!”
The lady who has to drive another route home in order to give someone a lift. Instead of being happy to be of help, she is angry that her time is wasted. “My time! Mine!”
The man who sees the homeless on the street, hardens his heart and drives away. With the R30 in his wallet, he will rather buy cigarettes than give to the one who hasn’t eaten in days. “My money! Mine!”
It happens in offices too.
“This is my office! I don’t want more people in here, it’s too crowded!”
“I am hot! Switch on the air conditioner!”
“I am cold! Switch off the air conditioner!”
The best example of this can be found in our homes. Open the linen cupboard and see what you find. Curtains that haven’t been used in years, kept for in case. Sheets and duvets kept in case we need it again. We hoard it all while there are people sleeping with no blankets whatsoever. Our hearts cry out in selfishness: “My linen! Mine!”
Clothes that don’t fit and will never fit again. Kept for the days when we will lose weight (and that will probably never happen). We hoard it while there are people desperate for old second-hand clothes. Our hearts cry out in selfishness: “My clothes! Mine!”
The irony is that this contact selfishness is actually tiring. We constantly have to watch our stuff, our space, our seats, our time etc, and it is all so tiring. We constantly have to fight for our stuff, our space, our seats, our time, and it is all so tiring. Keeping that cupboards neat is tiring. Cleaning the cupboard occasionally is tiring. Being selfish is tiring.
I challenge you today to ditch that burden – whatever yours may be. Let’s liberate ourselves from this selfishness and start to live life free of the stuff that drain our energy. Obviously it won’t be easy. We have to go against our nature. Luckily, we can do it with God’s help. Unselfishness is God’s character. With Him on our side, we can do it!
I dare you!