Thursday, January 5, 2012

Who Are You Living For?

I look up to her. Her hair has been white for many years. And her hearing isn't the best anymore. But her smile is contagious, and her love for others is obvious. In her early nineties, my sweet friend has the vitality of someone a fraction of her age. Life is an adventure.

She's a people person - the type that's never met a stranger. The conversation doesn't dwell on her; no, she's more interested in finding out about you. I'm pretty sure her middle name is either Hospitality or Generosity. A cold drink and a homemade treat are always on hand for guests. And she can't resist giving  keepsakes to her visitors  before they leave. From books and journals, to beautiful gems and shells, you'll never leave empty-handed.

It's clear her relationship with the Lord is treasured. Her Bible is well-worn and contains carefully penned notes from sermons throughout the years. Prayer is a big part of her life. I'm sure she has needs of her own, but her prayer requests are primarily for others.

What an example! The way she lives her life reminds me of the words penned by the Apostle Paul, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others," (Philippians 2:3-4; KJV). My friend has experienced many of life's difficulties, yet chooses to encourage herself in the Lord and continue to pour out His love to others.

Consider the radical life of Paul. He had the pedigree, education, and position to be set for life. Yet he chose to trade it all in for a close relationship with Jesus Christ. "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," (Philippians 3:7-8). Paul chose to draw strength from the Lord and share Him with everyone he met.

I have to admit, I often live life as if I'm the center of the universe. I can be shockingly self-absorbed. God's Word and the life of my elderly friend remind me that living for the Lord and sharing His love with others is really what it's all about. Time to re-focus!

Are you self-centered? Or do you live for others? What step can you take today to re-focus on the Lord and others?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for countless examples in Your Word, of people who lived with You in mind. Thank You for friends who know Your Word and are living it out. Help me to grow in my relationship with You and to put others ahead of myself. In Jesus' name, Amen.


  1. Years ago my husband and I discovered that if we ask others questions about them and show interest, we are both blessed more. We are trying hard to get to know our new church family and that is the best way--ask and be interested.People love to feel cared about!

  2. Oh, so self-centered am I! Such a good reminder. Thanks!
    Sidenote: I love in the Philippians passage that it says "dung." I don't think I've ever read that scripture in the KJV. NIV says "rubbish", but "dung" is much more picturesque.
    Have a good day!

  3. I try to live my life for others (guess that's why i love my job as a counselor) however, I have learned that there are times when I HAVE to be self-centered. But in all things, balance is key. Great post!

  4. I have noticed that asking questions instead of telling my own story really helps me in practicing to be less self centered. Great post MAria, as always.

  5. Terri - Sounds like you have a wonderful opportunity to put this principle into practice! And you're right about asking questions and showing interest - what a blessing! I'm sure you and your husband are on the way to making many lasting friendships! Hugs & blessings!

    Kristen - You and me, both! Guess I never thought of the visual that comes to mind with different wording, but you're absolutely right! Now we know what that pile of rubbish is made up of!! Have a fantastic day! :)

    KC - Wow! I didn't realize you were a counselor. I'm sure you have some interesting days! And you're right that balance is the key! When you're constantly giving out, as I'm sure is the case with your joy, you have to take some time to regroup. Once again - balance! God bless!

    Marja - Great to see you! And you're right - asking questions is a great way to get to know someone and show interest. I need to practice hospitality - invite more people over and not be so focused on a perfect house, dinner, etc. Have a great week! Hugs & blessings!

  6. I'm working more on taking deeper interest in other people and making them feel like they matter. It's easy to focus on ourselves, simply because it's culturally and biologically ingrained. Like Terri said, I feel blessed when I connect with people.

    Have a great weekend, Maria!

  7. "I can be shockingly self-absorbed"- Oh, I'm so glad I'm not the only one! I get sick of myself and I don't think facebook helps all that much! When I catch myself in that rut- failing to notice others or failing to step out and do something for someone else the computer time is the first thing I cut. In fact, I might be due again. Thanks for sharing your heart.