The Best

we need each otherhow do you move from being selfish to unselfish?  what does it take to become a person who willingly and compassionately puts the needs and interests of others above your own?

why is the path from self-centeredness and self-absorption such a perilous journey that ends in failure for so many?  i don’t know.  what will inspire us to invest in each other for the good of the kingdom and the world?

i know that authentic servanthood is a gift from god.  we can’t simply “will” our way to genuine love and gracious living.  left to our own determination, we will fall miserably short.  nothing but a complete change of heart that comes from the presence of god’s spirit taking up residence inside us will do.

but the words of others help.  a lot.

there is a book that i have read and re-read faithfully for over 35 years.  it’s a book that i turn to for inspiration and to be reminded of the way i need to live my life.  it is one of the five most important books i have ever read.  it’s called “we really do need each other”, by reuben welch, a church of the nazarene pastor and scholar.

the book is amazing.  it’s powerful and life-giving.  the author paints a picture of a life fully surrendered.  it’s a book you should buy and begin reading once a year for the rest of your life.  you will not be the same person after reading it.

here’s the short excerpt that read at the end of the teaching time this past sunday.  be moved.

sometimes i wonder what are we saving ourselves for.  now i don’t like this anymore than you do…it’s just that i happen to believe the bible means what it says about some of these things, even though we don’t like them.

i’m thinking of a man who all his life long saved and saved and saved and held back…you know…don’t loan and don’t borrow.  that’s the life slogan:  don’t loan, save, take care.  and all of his life he worked and saved and i guess he made it.

and do you know what he did when he was about sixty-four?  yeah…he up and died…that’s what he did.  and all of the saving, keeping, holding, making, making, keeping, holding and saving of his life was down the tubes forever.

now i’m not talking about economics.  i’m talking about a lifestyle that seeks to preserve and save and keep for what?

i hate to tell you this, but i found out over in the computer science department that according to the latest statistics, the death average is one hundred percent!  and you know, we are going to die…we’re just going to die.  i thought i’d leave you with that cheerful word.  we’re just gonna die.

you know, we want to save ourselves and keep ourselves and hold ourselves back…as though the highest goal in life would be to look good in our caskets.

it’s no special blessing to come to the end of life with love unshared and selves ungiven and activities unactivated and deeds undone and emotions unextended.

it’s not an encouraging thought…especially at my age in life…but i have the feeling that when a person is middle-aged, he ought to be about half used up.  and when i read this passage (that jesus gave his life away for us), i keep asking myself this question:  “what am i saving myself for?  isn’t it god’s intention that when we come to the end of the line, we’re just about used up?”

words to live by.

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