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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)

TITLE: GET OR GIVE
By Anthony David
02/15/05


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GET OR GIVE

Whenever I glance at my desktop computer, it hits me in the face. We are focused entirely on our own selves. If I have to open a CD on my PC, I need to double click on an icon named “My Computer”. All the files I create are housed under an icon, “My Documents”. All the pictures I scan or use are put in “My pictures”.

Me, my and mine are most popular today. The bestsellers of today are books on Self Improvement, and Self Help. They occupy the largest shelf space in any bookshop you may walk in to, next only perhaps to the fiction shelves.

“How to become successful and prosperous?”
“How to make your first million?”
How you can improve yourself”
“How to make your largest sale?”
These are the titles being sold like hot cakes.

All of us, all the time are focusing on our selves. Is it any different in the so-called Christian circles? Most best selling Christian books, best watched Christian TV programs are also focusing on self.
“How can I become a better
father/mother/husband/wife/child/pastor/Christian?”
This seems to be the query of most Christians. Again, the emphasis is on the ‘I’.

All of us are on a roller coaster ride. To enrich, empower and equip ourselves. “Not others but myself,” we cry. Sometimes even at the expense of others our brothers! If we have to do something, we slyly ask ourselves: “What is there in it for me? The accent is on accessing and acquiring. Only if I can benefit either directly or indirectly will I go and do something.

Even our philanthropy and service to the Lord, our ministry as we say sometimes we do with ulterior motives. For self-aggrandizement!

“Get, get and forget” seems to be the theme of the day. It does not matter from whom and from where. What matters is that I should get something for myself, preferably without giving anything in return! After I get, I can easily forget those who gave me. I can safely ignore him or her because, there is nothing else he/she can give me now.

We have become inverted, introverted – solely focused on our own selves. To paraphrase Fr John Powell, an eminent Christian author, “ While God made us so we can love other humans and use things, we now love things and use human beings.”

The other day I saw a cartoon in a newspaper. A couple is walking past a jewellery shop. The man is commenting, after seeing the display window, “How the times are changing” Prominently displayed there is a sign, “SALE: DISPOSABLE WEDDING RINGS”

Even marriages seem to be infected by this bug of selfishness. Marriages of convenience seem to be on the rise. “Why are you getting married?” if I ask. I can get answers like: “To get a visa” “to make sure I get a fat alimony” and so on!

What are Christians like you and me doing about all this? We are the followers of the most other centered Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. As He hung bleeding and dying on that cross on Calvary, His concern first was for the Roman soldiers who were busy stealing His clothes, for the thief who hung on a cross next to him, for the mother who bore him. What an example of being Other-centric?

John Donne said that to love is to leave oneself and to go towards another. Our motto ought to be to give.

Give sacrificially.
Give lovingly.
Give without counting the cost.
Give ourselves for others, our brothers.
Give without expecting anything in return.

It is in such giving that we truly live, with a capital L. Live the abundant life our Lord came to give us.

We often tend to get and get,
And soon the Giver forget;
He always gives; Let’s learn to give,
To give, forgive and LIVE!

“I have come,” said the Lord Jesus, “ so that they might have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV)


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donna robinson02/24/05
I can't believe that the readers haven't commented on this piece! Wow, did you ever nail this obsession with have today with "I and Me"! Just a great thought provoking read.
Phyllis Inniss 02/25/05
I too am surprised that others haven't commented on this soul-searching article. You have gone deeply into the "Me" syndrome and expressed your thoughts beautifully. Thanks for sharing.