All Selfishness Aside
Christopher B. Harbin
Psalm 32:1-7; John 10:1-11; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Peter 2:19-25
In All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten Robert Fulghum pointed out that the deep lessons in life are truly simple ones. Share. Play nicely. Everyone helps with clean up. Don't fight. Wait your turn. Don't be greedy. There is enough for everyone. Why is it that as adults we suddenly don't believe the lessons from our Kindergarten years? Is it any different with Sunday School and adult faith in Christ? Have we actually learned the basic lessons of faith, or do we just quote them back verbatim?
How many of us at some point learned to quote Psalm 23 by heart? Does it really say that God will provide pasture, water, and protection for us in the same way a shepherd cares for the sheep? Does it really say that God will care for us in the presence of our enemies? Does it really say we need not fear evil? Why, then, do we not live as though these lessons were true?
We want the gospel to tell us that nothing will go wrong for the people of God. This is an attractive gospel caricature. Many large churches have grown simply because they exude and preach a message of material success. Is that a true picture of the gospel? What we really want is to hear that faith in Christ is actually more selfish than living by any other creed! That's the idea, isn't it? If you really want to succeed at selfishness, be faithful at all costs, and you may selfishly enjoy the most heavenly of all rewards! The most rewarding greed comes through being unselfish! Why is that concept so attractive? How can it be attractive and repulsive at the same time?
Perhaps it just overlooks the obvious. Jesus did not live selfishly. He lived purposefully. He did not come as shepherd to care for selfish interests, but to lay down his own interests on behalf of lost and struggling sheep. Jesus said he came to grant abundant life. That is not the same as selfish ...
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