Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Confession of Selfishness

During lunch today, I was reading Chris Brady's article titled “Giving” in the book Leadership: Tidbits and Treasures, which he co-wrote with Orrin Woodward. I was struck by the following the paragraph:

“Generosity knows no calculation. It knows nothing about “self.” It is the gracious outpouring of the heart that results in material aid, spiritual assistance, caring, and love freely given to someone else who is in no position to repay the favor in any way. True generosity is the hallmark of a mature leader’s heart.”

Now, here is the confession part – if there is one thing that I struggle with continually, it is selfishness. Not necessarily of an aggressive nature. I will compromise, not because it is of benefit to the other person, but to avoid any unpleasantness that I dislike facing. I may be sneakily selfish by taking the best piece of pie for myself. I may calculate how I will appear or what others will think of me when I do something for someone else. I like to shop for myself more than my kids (I can hear the other mothers gasping out loud.). Any lesson I deliver to my kids about being selfish, wanting to go first or have a longer turn … is as much for my benefit as it is for theirs.

A little over a year ago, I came across an idea, in a devotional, that has been my mantra…I am slowly plastering it around our home so that we can all be directed by it. In her December 29th entry of her devotional, Morning Jam Sessions, Betty Malz wrote “In Sunday School, they taught me that real JOY was Jesus, Others, You and in that order!” This has helped me teach our children about priorities. It has helped me with my own attitude issues when they need adjusting. And it works! When I don’t want to serve someone else, I remember that I should serve them out of love for serving Jesus…no matter how deserving they are or are not. Now this will always be a work in progress for me, because I am human (Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God). But I have guidance and will keep moving forward.

So, I will let someone else have the fries that fall to the bottom of the McDonald’s bag. I will do laundry for others, even if I am not out of clothes. And, I will watch the movie that he wants to watch. The little daily victories will lead to the habit of true generosity.

Note: I made an error about the author of the referenced article titled "Giving". It has been corrected. My apologies.

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