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Selfish – The Dilemma
Today I’m finding that I’m selfish. Here’s the dilemma I’m facing -- a coworker at my second job needs me to work for her tomorrow so that she can drive to a different state to pick up her family who needs to be present for her surgery that she will be having next week. The thing is, I really don’t want to help this coworker out. It’s not that she’s not a friend, it’s just that I’m a bit selfish (likely an understatement). Normally I don’t do this kind of thing, and by that I mean I don’t normally go out of my way to help people when there’s nothing in it for me.

It’s not that I don’t have a good excuse. The thing is, by the time I could get there to work for her, I will have already worked ten hours at my first job. Not only that, but my second job is by no means a walk in the park. I usually only work at this second job once a week for the sake of my sanity, and when I do work those few hours, I need to be rested in order to be able to handle what I will face. If I work for her tomorrow, I won’t be rested, and it will not be easy. Considering all this, I think I have a good enough excuse to get out of helping her. Problem is, all this isn’t a good enough excuse for my conscience. My female coworker may not know it, but I know that I would survive the day. I may not like it, but after some rest it would all be water under the bridge and I would be no worse for the wear.

My natural tendency would be different if this concerned a beautiful girl who I wanted to like me. If this were the case, I would help the girl out, no questions asked. But truth is that the girl isn’t someone I find attractive. Because of this, it isn’t natural for me to want to help her out knowing that it’s going be hard on me. My natural instinct is to think only of what’s in it for me.

Selfish – What’s in it for me?
Am I just being selfish? I keep thinking that maybe this is a test or an opportunity from God…. Perhaps if I’m selfless and help the girl out, then maybe God will reward me with something I really want. But if that were the case, then my decision to help her would actually not be truly selfless because I would still be basing my decision on the possibility that God might throw me a bone to thank me for my efforts. A truly selfless act would be for me to help this girl, and expect nothing in return. Selflessness would be to base my decision solely on the fact that this girl needs my help.

This all brings me back to a memory I have of a class I took at my church. A couple was sharing with our group their experience of giving money to the church. The husband was explaining how they had given money to the church for many months, and nothing came to them in return. The husband was disappointed because he was expecting God to reward him for his sacrifice; consequently, the wife told him that he must give and expect nothing in return. The husband told our group that after listening to his wife’s advice, he was eventually able to take on this attitude of expecting nothing in return for what God asked of him. After his change of heart, God blessed his family above and beyond their needs.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:38).

The husband was likely thinking of this verse when he thought God would bless him simply for tithing, but it isn’t our money God is interested it -- He only cares that our hearts are in the right place.

Selfish – Can I change my perspective?
I realized tonight that the husband’s story parallels my current dilemma. It is not that God would reward me for doing something good, but it is that God is expecting this kind of behavior from me regardless.

So knowing this, making tonight’s decision provides a new perspective for me. I must admit that I am a very selfish person. I have suspected that for quite a while now.

I was right about one thing, though, and that is this: tonight’s situation is indeed an opportunity. It is an opportunity to see what is important to God, and I now know what I must do if I ever hope to reflect Him.

“Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain” (Psalm 119:36).

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:3-8).

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