Selfish or Selfless?

 

What is it you want?  That’s a loaded question, I know.  Before you attempt to answer, I must warn you that there’s only one right answer, and it’s crucial that you get it right. 

I grew up in a communist country at a time when the basics of life were scarce. We rarely thought about what we ‘wanted’ because our focus was always on what we ‘needed.’  My life is different today.  All my needs are met.  In fact, I would describe my life as extremely blessed.

Perspective matters.

How you view your life, whether you are thankful and satisfied or unthankful and dissatisfied, will influence every decision you make, especially as it relates to money.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
— Epictetus

When you experience struggles you have two choices.  You can blame and complain or you can believe for the best and work toward that end.  Your attitude determines your altitude, someone once said.  A bad attitude will keep you grounded while a good attitude will cause you to soar.

Answer this question honestly: Do you think positively or negatively about your life as it relates to money?  Do you always think and feel like you don’t have enough or are you grateful for what you have right now?

You reap what you sow.

My whole life I’ve sought to have more.  Some seasons were marked by selfish and unhealthy desires.  Others, by a selfless desire to make life better for those I love.  In every season my attitude determined my success.  If I acted out of selfishness, I was miserable and unfulfilled.  If my motive was caring for others, serving them instead of myself, I experienced happiness, abundance, and personal growth.  It’s true, you reap what you sow.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because I care about you.  I want you to live the life that you were destined to live.  To experience the joy that you were meant to experience.  But it isn’t what you think and it isn’t what you know.  It’s something totally different.

There is nothing in this world, no thing, that will make you happy or fulfilled.  Satisfaction, joy, hope, and happiness are always connected to relationships.  You can possess all the wealth and all the power, but it means nothing without people.  If all your possessions aren't also used for the benefit of others, they will all become empty things that lose their value and provide you no comfort.

So, I ask you again: what is it you want?  Whatever it is, if it’s not also about someone other than you, it will end in frustration, emptiness, and regret.  But, if you choose to devote yourself, your resources, your time, and your talents, to make life better for others, all of heaven and even God himself will come alongside you to ensure your success.

Conclusion

A noteworthy life is one marked by generosity, service, and sacrifice.  These are the qualities we admire in those we esteem the most, those we affectionately call, "heroes."  These are not easy lives, but they are worthy lives.  It was the philosopher Aristotle who said:

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over the self.
— Aristotle

May we all have victory over the self and be known as brave.