Becoming Selfless

Coloring for Jesus

Disaster relief volunteers often work with children whose families have gone through natural disasters. These volunteers help families and children on a temporary basis with basic needs like food, water, and shelter. They also help children by just being a friend when they need one the most. One special thing they do is to look after children so that parents can take care of other things. The volunteers play with children, talk to them, and give them guidance when they don’t understand the horrible things that have happened.

One way disaster relief volunteers help children cope is to let them draw and color pictures about their feelings. Volunteers can then follow up with the children to let them know that Jesus loves them and wants to take care of them. They let the children know that Jesus can take things that are messed up and make something great out of them.

Did you know that you can help friends who are going through a rough time in the same way that disaster relief teams do? You can recycle old, broken crayons and reshape them into something new and beautiful. Then, you can give them to friends and talk to them about their feelings.

Thanks and Giving

This November, the RAs and GAs at my church played very important roles in a churchwide missions effort centered on Thanksgiving. For weeks, our church collected specific Thanksgiving-type grocery items for our neighbors in one of our state’s poorest counties. Then, last week, deserving families received grocery bags filled with canned sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, boxed stuffing mix, pie filling, pie crust mix, and even a gift certificate for a turkey—all the essentials for an entire Thanksgiving meal!

RAs contributed to the cause each week by collecting the food items from various drop-off locations around the church and then organizing them in the central distribution area. GAs decorated brown grocery bags with beautiful pictures, stickers, fall-shaped die-cuts, Scripture verses, and words of encouragement. Everyone helped with packing the bags and loading them into the church vans for delivery.

Selflessness Continues!

The cards keep coming in. Expressions of love and sympathy flood the post, as selflessness continues to console and bless. The heartfelt sentiments, the verses of prayer —each message is another reminder of God’s never-ending faithfulness!

There, in the midst of the stacks, are sweet, comforting words from friends like Donna Kirby— each among numerous, other souls. Hands that have lovingly composed words of sympathy, and words arriving at just the right time.

Selfless acts of love. A first-class stamp representing the heart of God reaching outward to serve a grieving daughter and her family.

Thank you, friends, for reflecting our Father’s love. Thank you for pausing to sacrifice your time, and for taking up your cross and following Jesus.

Your selfless acts of love will never be forgotten.

 

Joanie Ballard will be forever grateful for her earthly father’s legacy of selfless living! 

 

 

 

 

Serve Others

Missionaries are some of the most selfless people in the world. Many leave their comfort zone, their homes, and families to serve God and others. Missionaries give selflessly of themselves.

Their happiness is truly lasting. A selfless person will attract takers and sometimes will be unappreciated. Boundaries must clearly be set. The world may seek the advice of a selfless person and then ignore it. In order to be selfless, whole-hearted and genuine, we must take care of ourselves first in order to give our best self to others.

However, being selfless does not have to mean being a doormat. Stand on the Word of God. The Christian life is not about self-promotion; it is about self-denial.

God didn’t add another day in our life because we needed it, He added it because someone out there needs us.        

 

 

Minister

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

There are many ways to be a selfless servant in our communities and around the world. People are hurting and are in need of a loving Savior. Disaster relief is a good way to be the hands and feet of Jesus as we approach the season of storms, tornadoes and hurricanes. Perhaps your church could serve as a shelter or feeding center.

Hunger is another prevalent problem in our society. Try keeping food packets (granola bars, beef jerky, etc.) in the glove compartment of your car to give to someone in need. Provide a meal to school teachers during teacher preparation week. Provide a meal and/or hold a special service to recognize local fire, police and EMT personnel.

The challenge is to develop a strategic plan to spread the Gospel while we are ministering in our communities.

**Photo credit: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com  

 

When There’s No Extra Present

Sometimes the best kind of selflessness is unplanned. We often define selflessness by scheduling time to teach a Bible study, volunteer, or help someone in need.

Don’t get me wrong—all of these things are important, and they are selfless! However, the true state of our heart is tested when God throws us into a situation where we have to act fast. Will we choose to satisfy ourselves, or will we humbly give of ourselves to put others first?

One of my favorite stories of selflessness comes from a high school youth trip several Christmases ago. My church had bought toys and wrapped presents for children at a daycare program in a poor, rural town in Alabama. As the program director called the children’s names to receive their gifts, the children were ecstatic.

However, we soon realized that not all of the children there got a present—only the children who were enrolled in the program for five days a week. Had we known this before, we would have wrapped extra presents for the other children, but it was too late.

Surrender

The first step to selflessness is to surrender your life to Jesus and become one of His disciples. Selflessness requires the stopping, quitting, halting of anything and everything that might impede our fellowship with God.

We must seek to follow the will of God and refuse to do our own will. Selflessness requires rejecting desires of the flesh and leading a holy path. We receive the greatness of God first then we are made aware of our nothingness.

Christian belief of selflessness comes from Jesus not only implying it through words but from action. Just as He sacrificed Himself, we should sacrifice our life for Him. We must renounce ungodly and worldly passions that come from our own desires. Jesus demands in our heavenly hope, for behold, our reward is great in heaven.

When we realize God’s purpose for our lives isn’t just about us, He will use us in a mighty way.

 

 

A Leap of Selflessness!

Today, I am with my Daddy—who is in the last days, perhaps even last hours, of his earthly life. Selfishly, I find myself grasping for every minute, every moment of his final season.

Today, I have witnessed “selflessness” in action! Hands that have provided comfort; hearts who have stood watch and accompanied our family in grief! Nurses, people, servants of our Lord Jesus Christ who are now forever part of our eternal story!

What transforms a spirit of selfishness into a gift of selflessness? Is it sacrifice or simply service at its best?

The answer, I believe, must begin with Jesus—who "for the joy set before him he endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2 NIV).

Yes! Selflessness requires a choice, a choice to take up one’s cross and turn from an inward place of focus to an outward position of love—complemented by an upward expression of surrender!

Today, I have witnessed selflessness at its best!

Just after penning these words, Joanie Ballard had the privilege of celebrating her Daddy’s journey to Jesus! 

Full of Ourselves

As humans, it is our very nature to be selfish. We want everything done our way and on our time schedule.

We become wrapped up in “my world” that we don’t think of others. Our schedules are busy running hither and yon, we don’t have time to be bothered or inconvenienced. The world teaches to do whatever feels good, no matter who it hurts.

Pride keeps us from becoming a humble servant. We pursue everlasting joy in earthly things. We tend to place our hope in the things of this world. We were born with a sinful, selfish nature.

We are constantly searching for worldly pleasures. We are obsessed with getting more and having more than our neighbor. We are so busy “keeping up with the Joneses,” that we leave God out. God can’t fill us when we are already full of ourselves.

 

LaNita Mitchell lives and serves in Princeton, KY. She has a Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry.

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking the Selfish Cycle

I am a selfish person.

I want things to happen the way I want them to happen and when I want them to happen.

And, if I may be so bold, you are a selfish person, too.

“Looking out for number one” is more than just a cultural phenomenon. Selfishness is rooted deeply in our fallen, sinful nature.

Even as a follower of Christ, I exhibit self-centered tendencies daily.

I struggle with this “Selfish Cycle”:

  1. I act selfishly.
  2. I realize I have been selfish and regret it.
  3. I put myself down for being selfish.
  4. I try to make up for being selfish by doing something good.
  5. I am proud of myself for the good things I have done.
  6. I realize that I am being prideful.
  7. Repeat from step 2.

Sound familiar?

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