1) Words of a missionary: Years ago, Dr. Wilfred
Grenfell served as a medical missionary in
2) Words of a volunteer: A nurse who accepted that challenge wrote this after her return from Labrador: “I never know before that life was good for anything but what you could get out of it. Now I know that the real fun lies in seeing how much you can put into the lives of others.” If we replace the word fun with blessing, we have the key to Christian self-giving or fulfillment. Put your life into the lives of others for Jesus’ sake and you will experience a fulfillment beyond comparison.
“WHAT DO I GET OUT OF THIS?”
1) This is Satanic nature: Selfishness or self interest is a common denominator of human nature---we look out for our own interest over and above that of others. This selfish nature leads to many conflicts of interest at home, at work, in the society and the nation. When Satan cheated Eve into disobeying God, it offered her a very self-interest benefit: you will be like God. (Genesis 3:5) So this self-interest and selfish nature didn’t come from God but from Satan. The Bible offers to change this evil human nature by a redemptive way: the born again approach.
2) This is universal: Being selfish is not limited to certain race, social group or individual. It is a universal phenomenon: every one is selfish everywhere. From education to social-economic status, The selfish nature of man has never been changed. From little kids fighting to have the favorite toys to the CEOs of failing large corporations making million of dollars when their companies are crumbling and thousand of their employees are losing jobs and pension fund, we see selfish nature of man all through history. This is so because it is from the heart of man and man’s heart has never been changed.
3) This is far reaching: Seeking personal interests applies to many facets of life: from marriage to jobs situation, from friendship to choosing community, school or even a church. Everyone looks for personal interest from his/her spouse, friends, company and even a church: what do I get from them. This mentality blocks people from caring or giving to their spouse, friends, company and church so they may be benefited from. That’s why people file divorce when they didn’t get what they look for, quit jobs that don’t satisfy their demands or leave a church when they were asked to contribute to the ministry of the church. People choose to stay or leave base on what and how much they may get from the relationship.
4) This is degrading: Looking for personal interest in dealing with people, organizations and everything else makes others objects instead of persons with dignity and respect. Acts like this truly degrade others into a lower level of value: objects just to make our life happy at the expense of their dignity. In a world based on commercial values, it is bad enough. If this is in the heart and purpose of Christians, it is a violation of God’s image for all men were created in His image and deserve respect. God did not create people to promote our selfish interest but to provide us an environment where we may sustain each other, holding each other up and contribute to the well being of each other.
SELFGIVING, NOT SELF SERVING:
1) Our God is self-giving: Just look at the creation story and in all the dealings God had with human race, the people of Israel and all others, God never did anything for the purpose of enriching His well being or His interest. God never asked anything that only made Him look better, more beneficial or anything else good only for Him. He always has the well being and interest of His people, ancient or modern, in His mind when He planned, asked or did anything. His never ceasing love to us is the best proof of His self-giving nature. God never stops giving to us.
2) Our Lord is self-giving: “For God so love the world that He gave His only Son…” (John 3:16) is the best known and most recited Bible verse that had led millions to salvation. The coming to earth as a servant, humbled to the point of death, poured out His life on the cross and asked for forgiveness of His enemies are only few examples of His acts of self-giving. (Phil. 2:5-8)It is his self-giving death on the cross when we were still sinners the love of God in Christ was manifested fully to us. (Romans 5:8)
3) The forerunner were self-giving: Beginning from Apostle Paul and countless faithful cross bearers, missionaries, pastors, those who gave so much, some with their lives, so the gospel message is able to reach millions of souls. These were the people who did not get anything for return but gave unselfishly for the good of others that the Kingdom of God has expended so much in the world. Many gave up their comport. Others gave up their personal ambition and opportunity on what they always want to become. Still others who gave up family, friends, prestige, fame and material possessions to become messengers to bring others to God’s family. It is because of the self-giving of these great men and women, Christian history continues to grow.
4) The faithful are self-giving: Today, in all God’s churches, we see His faithful, in this church as well as countless other churches, God’s people continue to self-giving their time, their love, their resources, their commitment and their talents. Churches were built and strengthened because of the self-giving Christians. We thank God for the faithful as Paul thanked the Lord every time he remembered the Philippians Christians in his prayer. (Phil. 1:3-4) It is on the self-giving of God’s people yesterday and today we have this wonderful church we call home. These people do not look for what they can get out of the church but what they can give to further and grow the church. Along with Paul, I am thankful to serve the Lord with these faithful people.
BE CHANNELS OF BLESSING: (Galatians 6:1-10)
1) Be a blessing to the weak: “If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” (6:1) Being caught in sin is not an isolated case. It is important for those who are spiritually stronger to be gentle and kind to restore him into fellowship and a closer walk with the Lord. Pointing fingers is easy but showing love and kindness is not.
2) Be a blessing to the burdened: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (6:2)Being under burdens could happen to anyone anytime. We are encouraged to assist those who are heavily burdened. Lending a helping hand is what we need to do even when it means sacrifices of time, convenience and resources.
3) Be a blessing to the teachers: “Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.” (6:6)This includes pastors, preachers, missionaries, teachers and all who labor in God’s ministries, we need to be generous and a blessing to these people. They give up so much for the Lord, we need to support them all we can.
4) Be a blessing without weary: “Let us not become weary for doing good, for at proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (6:9)To do good is not that hard, but to keep on doing good can be difficult at times. We can be tired of doing good, especially when we don't see immediate results. God promised us a harvest at a proper time, His time. So keep doing good without being weary.
5) Be a blessing to all people: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (6:10)Most people will do good to some people but are selective in their objects. We may not have enough resource to do good to all people. Sometimes we are selective because we like someone more than others. God is not selective in His doing good to us. Others may do good to people outside of the church but are more critical to those in the family of believers. Paul encouraged us first to be a blessing to those in God’s church, then extend to all others.
1) Don’t follow the crowd: When people in this world is doomed to look after their own interest, people of God need to take a different stand on this issue. We are the lights of this world and we need to shed light in the darkness especially in the area of selfish intent. If we are truly the reflection of the character of God, we can’t follow the crowd in self-seeking at home, at work, in school or at the church.
2) But follow great examples: All the great people, ancient and modern, are those who seek the good of others rather than for themselves. These people will go the extra mile for the good of the weak, the poor, the downcast and the vulnerable. People like Mother Teresa and countless missionaries many of them gave up profitable jobs and comfortable life to go to distant land to serve others in the name of Jesus. With the world getting smaller each day, you don’t have to go to the other side of the world to find opportunities to give, to sacrifice and to serve.
3) Seek the ultimate blessing: No human blessing may come close to that which God gives to those who seek Him, believe in Him and commit their lives to Him. God sent His son to this world to seek and save sinners and promised to give those who receive Him the greatest blessing of all, the eternal life with Him. Seek Him while you can and give Him your life so He can turn it around to become a blessing to others.