My 4-foot 10-inch German grandma was famous for saying, “Good things come in small packages”—a true statement, particularly in her case.
But here’s another true statement, one that most of us wrestle with at some point in our lives: “When we get wrapped up in ourselves, we make very small packages.”
We all do it, don’t we? We may not mean to, but life is busy—and sometimes it’s hard. In addition, we live in a society that bombards us with the message that “it’s all about us.” This message really hit home with me the day I took my pre-teen granddaughter shopping. We’d no sooner gone inside the store than she headed for the cosmetic counter, where she quickly became enamored of a perfume called “It’s About Me.” As I watched her open the sample bottle and sniff the contents, I knew I had my work cut out for me to try to counter that all-about-me message.
Of course, we’re not surprised when our young people get caught up in that self-centered, self-serving message, but what about us? Do we do any better? Do we even recognize it as it inundates our daily lives?
We hear songs that brag about doing it “my way” or declare that it’s “my life” and I can do what I want with it. We see commercials on TV that entice us with “you deserve it” come-ons and “treat yourself” temptations. It’s easy to get sucked in and start believing that—and living accordingly.
What the world doesn’t need is one more “it’s all about me” poster child. What it does need is Christians who are willing to move beyond serving self and start living like the One we claim to follow—the One who came to serve, rather than be served, the One who laid down His life…for us. Why? Certainly not because we deserved it, but rather because His love was so great and His humility so real that He put “self” aside to fulfill God’s purpose for His life here on earth.
God has a purpose for each of us, but we’ll never fulfill it so long as we buy into the world’s “it’s all about me” message. But if we willingly lay down our lives—daily—in service to God and others, that small package of self will begin to blossom and bear more fruit than we can ever imagine.
A pastor friend of mine once said, “So long as I consider it my life and my ministry, my influence will never move beyond where my arms can reach. But when I lay it down to partner with and serve others, there’s no end to what God can do in and through me.”
That’s the message we want to live out ourselves, as well as convey/model to others. It is the message that spurred me to write my newest book, BEYOND ME: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World, which is full of illustrations and teaching about “beyond me” living. Here are a few practical ways you might consider living and modeling that sort of living to others:
• First, does your church have an outreach ministry to the homeless? Maybe your entire family could commit one day a month to going to the park and handing out sandwiches and blankets or ladling out soup to those less fortunate. This is an especially meaningful way to spend Thanksgiving, and countless ministries in nearly every city welcome volunteers for such occasions.
• Second, does your church sponsor or participate in a short-term mission project, such as going to another country (or a poverty-stricken area in our own country) to help build homes or offer medical or educational assistance? Though this is the type of ministry we often send our young people to do, how much more effective might it be if we went with them so our children could see us actively involved in giving ourselves away to others?
• Third, are there hospitals or nursing homes in your community that would welcome regular visits from you and your family? This type of ministry not only blesses the patients and residents of these facilities, but those ministering often develop close and loving relationships with those patients and residents that equally bless all involved.
Finally, how can we model beyond-me living right in our own homes? Do those closest to us see us willingly and lovingly giving of ourselves to our spouse and the rest of the family? Do they view us as cheerful givers—or grumbling complainers? Ultimately, regardless of the words we speak, the actions we display will have the deepest impact.
If the package that represents your life seems small and insignificant, try moving “beyond me” and giving yourself away for the sake of the One who has “bought you with a price.” Why not live your life for Him and experience the true freedom for which you were created?
Kathi Macias, popular speaker and prolific author, is an Angel-award winning writer who has published twenty-one books and hundreds of articles. Whether keyboarding her latest book, keynoting a conference, or riding on the back of her husband's Harley, Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias is a lady on a mission to communicate God’s vision. Her insightful words—filled with passion, humor and soul nourishment—refresh audiences from all walks of life. To book Kathi for your next event, email kenbarry(at)thebarryagency.com. For more information, visit http://www.kathimacias.com/.
The BEYOND ME VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on August 4, 2008 and continue all month. You can visit Kathi's tour stops at http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in August to find out more about her and her book!
As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $25 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they come available. The winner will be announced on our main blog on August 31!
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