One of my favorite movie scenes is in the movie “Finding Nemo” where the seagulls are all saying, “Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine” as the entourage of fish are swimming through the location where all of the seagulls were sitting! Each one of the birds desired to devour the fish for a self satisfying meal! There was not one bird in the scene who was willing to share and all any of them wanted was a fish snack for themselves.
I am often reminded of this scene in the movie when I watch the news, listen to stories, stand in line at the grocery store, reading posts on Facebook and even inside the conversations of the people who proclaim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Society, culture, government and even the church are selfishly inwardly focused on “me and mine.” I might even challenge those who are fighting for the rights of others, who are truly marginalized, to check the reason and motives for the fight. Are they truly for the other or are there selfish motives and ambitions underlying the cause? I must check my own motivations daily. Our culture has led us to believe that we must place ourselves first. Everything is about me and I hear the voices from the movie crying out “mine, mine, mine, mine.”
Friends has the Christian Church become the church of me first? Are we so inwardly focused about our comfort and selfish needs that we forget to reach outside the walls of the building called the church? Are we truly loving others? Are we striving to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ? Are we carrying out the great commission to make Disciples for Jesus Christ? Do we model Matthew 25 feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, giving clothes to the naked or visiting the sick and those in prisons? Perhaps we throw some money after a good cause, feel better about it and go on our selfish ways.
“Are any of you wise and understanding? Show that your actions are good with a humble lifestyle that comes from wisdom. However, if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, then stop bragging and living in ways that deny the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above. Instead, it is from the earth, natural and demonic. Wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and everything that is evil. What of the wisdom from above? First, it is pure, and then peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good actions, fair, and genuine. Those who make peace sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts.”
-James 3:13-18 CEB
Friends, I confess my selfishness sin in this article toady. I challenge myself to become a better Disciple of Jesus Christ striving to live my life as the example we were given by him on this earth. I strive to surrender my me first attitude so that God is first, others are second and my selfish desires are last. Will you join me?
God may the Body of Christ live as Christ today. Amen
The writer is the pastor of Maplewood and Lockington United Methodist churches.