Author: Ron Graham
What do you think of when you first wake in the morning? At the end of the day, what has occupied your mind most of the time?
A mother worries about her son’s tonsillitis —he might miss the sports day and she won't get the recognition she craves.
A gardener wonders how long it will take to finish the tree trimming job —he hopes to snooze for half an hour within the job’s allotted time.
An interior decorator is pleased with the improved design that occurred to him —a cost-cutting measure more in his own interests than his client’s.
An insurance agent is going over all the policy benefits before her big superannuation presentation —she treats the "benefits" as mere selling points, and has at heart the ten thousand dollars commission.
These imaginary people are not having terribly wicked thoughts. But a problem is becoming evident in their thinking. The problem is who is at the centre of their thoughts. They are self-centred.
Now there is nothing wrong with thinking about yourself. In fact, I'm trying to make you do that! The problem is thinking of yourself as the centre of the universe.
The vinyl records that are played on a turntable have a locating hole in the centre. If the hole were off-centre, the music would sound distorted and weird. How does the "music" of your life sound?
In Philippians 2:3-5 we are taught by the example of Jesus to think of ourselves as servants of others and putting their interests above our own. We are not at the center —others are. This may surprise you, because it is the lost secret of a happy life.
"Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not look out only for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this attitude be in you as it was also in Christ Jesus..." (Philippians 2:3-5).
The truly satisfying life is lived as follows: "each one has received a gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1Peter 4:10).
The word for "gift" and "grace" which Peter uses (he wrote in Greek) is "charisma". We think of charisma as good looks, self-confidence, winning personality, sex appeal. But true charisma is possessing an understanding of your God-given gifts and doing with them what you were meant to do in stewardship and service.
A TV commercial appearing in early 1990 included this quote: "It is more blissful to give than receive". The quote was followed with "Author Unknown". The unknown Person who made that statement was Jesus (Acts 20:35). He understands life. It is one of the paradoxes in life that the more you try to make others happy, the happier you yourself become.
When we say, “others” should come first, of course, the most important Other is God. Strive first to please Him (1John 3:22).