BEING A LITTLE SELFISH?
The word “selfish” has and is getting bad publicity. Jesus, Paul and James had encounters with materially selfish people. At the same time, Jesus did not mind being supported by wealthy women, Paul by Philemon and James by Joseph Barnabas who sold his property to help the first Christians. I am married to a lady that was born in poverty. She buys and collects things. She refurbishes some of the items and gives them to people that need them. I asked her many times why she was bringing home things that I would not touch. Her answer is this quote, “If we do not gather, we cannot scatter.” The Preacher said this: “Cast your bread on the waters, for after many days you will find it again. Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land” (Ecclesiastes 11:1-2). There was and still is a crucial reason why God commands that we bring a tenth into his storehouse (Malachi 3:10). It was not meant to feed God or the preacher or the religious edifices, but the very people that saved the tenth for a time when a harvest failed.
I am actually proud to be a bit selfish. My wife and I sacrificed and struggled to save a little so we did not have to experience what we did during World War II. By gathering a little over the years, we have been able the help our children and others. We are one, my wife and I. We are proud of our children, friends, country and what we accomplished. Here is what may shock those that tell me that they put God first. How can I be of any use to God or anyone else, if I am not fit enough to supply the basic needs for my family, do my share in the community and pay my dues to the country? It is our lack of pride in ourselves that what we can produce is of any value to others in a time of need. We hale the Good Samaritan for his passion and generosity toward the victim on the road to Jericho and disrespect the Priest and the Levite for avoiding to meet the victim (Luke 10:25-37). We have explanations why they did not, but have we asked ourselves what they had that they could give to the victim? It is very likely that they had not gathered and had nothing to give, but the Samaritan had the means to help. I have been in situations when I could not help anyone, not even myself, because I was not prepared. I had nothing in my store from where I could draw.
On our last trip to Europe, we saw posters with these words, “Maybe never wrote a song.” It is a slogan that reflects the spirit of our time. The majority of humanity is in a holding position, hoping that “maybe” things will change for the better. Unfortunately, “maybe” is similar to hope that never moves a pebble. “Maybe” always plays it safe. It reminds me of a humorous story about an old Georgia farmer that sat barefooted on the steps of his shack, smoking a corncob pipe. A passerby asked for a drink of water and tried to engage the farmer in a friendly conversation. He asked, “How is your cotton coming on?” “Ain’t got none,” was the answer. “Didn’t you plant any?” continued the visitor. “Nope, ‘fraid o’ boll weevils,” explained the farmer. “Well,” the passerby tried to keep the exchange alive, “How is your corn?” The native replied, “Didn’t plant none, ‘fraid there wa’nt goin’ to be no rain.” Puzzled by this farmer’s attitude, the visitor asked about his potatoes. The reply was the same. “Ain’t got none; scairt o’ potato bugs – pow’rful lot ub’m here.” “You must have planted something,” inquired the visitor? After a deep puff the farmer set the friendly visitor straight, “Nothin’, jest play’in safe” (Mur. #250).
It was not the English that was troubling but this man’s attitude. It too reflects the spirit of indifference regarding our contribution to provide for our own existence and survival. Jesus illustrated this principle in His Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). The property owner had three servants. In accordance with their ability, he entrusted them with five, two and one talent. Two of the servants went to work and doubled their profits. The third, like the farmer, sat on it. When the owner returned, he rewarded the two for enlarging his holdings and took from the third servant the one talent and gave it to the one that was most productive. Then the owner kicked out the useless servant. The owner had no compassion for this lazy person. He was a “maybe” without confidence in himself and not even an ounce of pride that he could add another talent. If he had been a little selfish, he may have come up with something his employer could have been proud of?
I am also disturbed by the religious attitude that supports a “Maybe Theology.” God, in case we belittle all selfishness, was and is very selfish and proud in what He created. Everything He made, including man, was good (Genesis 1) and He is very jealous (Deuteronomy 4:24; 5:9; 6:15). He sent Jesus to reaffirm His laws (Matthew 5:17) and He will not come to the rescue of a people that have replaced His Laws with a promiscuous secular morality. Like Israel of old, He shall hand us over to our enemies (Revelation 17:17). In fact, this government is in the process of endorsing and supporting those that shall destroy this nation. Jesus’ Revelation is on time. He predicted that the Antichrist or the devil would, with his followers form ten nations with the help of Babylon or the United Nations. Then the ten nations will destroy Babylon and the lands where the “Big Lady” headquarters. It is not just little Israel that is in danger, but much more so big America. It is all because we have become so unselfishly passionate for those that intend us harm. Yes, we suppose to love our enemies, but are we to feed the dragon that shall swallow us? We have lost that little selfishness that had made us proud of who we are as representatives of God and His Christ in this world. We have become the salt that lost its saltiness and no longer influences the world (Matthew 5:13).