The Art of Leadership
A leader has followers and his actions are usually directed at others. Selfishness is the art of thinking about yourself; usually thinking of yourself alone. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a selfish leader? Jesus Christ came to teach us about breaking out of a life of selfishness. Jesus set a great example for us by actually giving up Himself for us. He did not love His life but laid down his life for us. Can you imagine what would have happened if Jesus had been selfish?
Lessons On Selfishness
- Selfishness is at the root of every evil thing in this world. Jesus Christ came into this world to fight selfishness. Jesus came, denied Himself and died on the cross for us. “If any man will come after me, let him DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross, and follow me” ( Matthew 16:24).
- Selfishness is the root of insincerity and falsehood in the world.
“Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; for as he thinks within himself so is he. He says to you “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, and waste your compliments.” Proverbs 23:6 (NASB).
- Selfishness does not make you think of others. Selfishness is the opposite of agape love. Agape love thinks about the other person. What a blessing it is to meet people who are not thinking of themselves but of others!
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour PREFERRING ONE ANOTHER” (Romans 12:10).
The Unselfish Patient
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service and where they had been on vacation.
And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Days and weeks passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. To his amazement, it faced a blank wall.
The man could not believe it. He asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate to describe such wonderful things outside the window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.” The patient who died was not thinking about himself but about his fellow patient who equally needed comfort.
Everyone thinking only about himself has led to a very evil and difficult world. Our world is filled with seven billion selfish and greedy people running around to try and get something for themselves. No wonder we have the chaos. Selfishness is the root of many evils in our world. Let us fight selfishness with agape love!
By Dag Heward-Mills