Giving should be a lifestyle

We’ve been exploring the various ways the subtle sin of selfishness finds its way into our lives.

We have considered how this happens with our interests and time. Today, we’ll consider two more possibilities.

Surveys show the average American gives less than 2% of their income to charitable and religious causes. There’s typically a great outpouring of money following disasters, such as hurricanes, floods and tornadoes.

But believers are to cultivate a heart of compassion and generosity toward those in need. Giving, for a dedicated Christ follower, is to be a lifestyle, not just as a response to a crisis.

Romans 12:15 challenges us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” In 1 John 3:17, we read, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

Everything we have is a gift from God. We are to be stewards of all that we have. We should enjoy the blessings we have received, but we also are to share those blessings with others. To consume all that we have and use it only for ourselves can be an act of selfishness.

Are you considerate of the needs of others? Inconsiderate people don’t care about the impact of their actions on others. Do you think about what it means to always be late, keeping others waiting? Is it considerate to carry on loud telephone conversations in public places with no regard for the people around you?

How about leaving your clothes on the floor or a mess in the kitchen, expecting someone else to clean up? Think about the impact of your actions on other people. Are you being selfishly inconsiderate? Are you thinking only of yourself?

An unselfish person is always balancing his or her needs and concerns with the needs and concerns of others. By contrast, the selfish person is not only indifferent to the needs of others but actually expects others to meet his or her needs and desires.

This form of selfishness is often found in marriages where one person expects the other to meet his or her needs instead of thinking of how they can serve each other in love. The greatest example of selflessness the world has ever seen is Jesus.

Our goal should be to be more like Jesus. Combating the sin of selfish ambition requires genuine humility, which reminds me of him.

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