E-VOS for my DEVOS (from the past)

by Benjamin Burks on June 6, 2015 · 0 comments

“Selfish Christians may not do bad things, but remember that selfish Christians are usually bound to something that keeps them apathetic toward others.”

When I was in secular employment, I recall working with a depressingly large amount of selfish people.  It seemed to me that most everybody I encountered would do just about anything to advance their own agenda, regardless of any ill effects it may cause those around them.  Granted, in the capitalist business world this is, more or less, the driving force behind successful industry.  Adam Smith, otherwise known as the “father of capitalism”, put it like this: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”In other words, Smith is saying that it is the selfishness inherent amongst individuals that will power a booming economy.   Now, that’s how the world operates… I would like to think that the brethren in Christ are a bit different.  But alas, this is not always the case!

Conventional knowledge tells us that a selfish person is someone who “only cares about themselves”.  This is certainly true; however, if you were to ask me to describe a selfish person, I would tell you that a selfish person is nothing more than one who has a sin problem.

Selfish behavior can range anywhere from a consuming heroin addiction all the way to skipping choir practice in order to catch the end of a ballgame. Depending on the circumstances, it could even be considered sinful to play with your child! You see, just because an action is not sinful in itself, it does not mean that engaging in it will not be a selfish thing to do.

The key, or determining element, lies in the motivating factors behind why we choose to engage in an action.  For example, if one chooses to minister to the addicted simply because it makes him feel better about himself, then by all rights this seemingly God-honoring action becomes a selfish action!

The bottom line here is that any behavior that limits our ability or desire to minister to others in some form or fashion is, in fact, selfish. Apathy is a condition that occurs when a Christian lacks desire to minister to others because it produces no satisfaction of one’s self.  It is typical for us to associate apathy with slothfulness or laziness, but this is not always an accurate correlation.  You see, many Christians become so involved in other areas of life that they are afforded no real time for ministry.Take the stereotypical “workaholic”, for example.  This person is no different than a conventional “alcoholic”  in his inability to minister to his family or others that may very well need his attention.  Now, while an alcoholic’s inability to minister is because of obviously egregious sin, the workaholics inability to minister is because of what is an otherwise positive character virtue-a strong work ethic.  However, it is imperative that we as Christians recognize anything that interferes with our desire to minister as directed by God is sinful-even if the action is admirable in and of itself.

Romans 15:1 says, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”  Here, the Apostle Paul is clearly telling us as strong Christians it ought to be our primary focus to minister to those who are weaker than ourselves.  He reasons that the well-being of the weak should be placed ahead of our own well-being in priority.  Now, my friends, this is something that absolutely cannot be accomplished absent of the influence of the Holy Spirit of God.  As noted by capitalist founder Adam Smith, our nature is to always look out for “number one”, but this is not what God desires of us.

In my years in the ministry, I have observed it to be common among addicts, as it was once with me, to live life moving from one self-serving task to the next.  On the surface this would appear to be the quickest way to happiness, but as is the case with all lies of the devil, this is a fallacy that will lead to nothing but misery!

In short, true happiness only comes from walking in the Spirit and exercising our God-given Spiritual gifts for the needs of others and to the satisfying of our Savior.  When we do so, we will “produce the juice” and get “a lift from our Spiritual gift” as we use them to minister to others.

Friends, I exhort you to take heed to the things that you do because the reasons God wants to use you are not few.  Please don’t misconstrue, and keep your efforts from becoming askew, for self-serving labor will leave you blue.  So today, get a clue and start anew by ministering to others and being true.  I can assure you that if you do God’s blessings you will accrue.  But for now, brethren, I bid you adieu.

Stephen B. Curington

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