As humans, it seems that our memories work like a sports highlight reel. We remember the highs and how wonderful those times were, and we remember the lows and how terrible those times were. Like a line graph on a plot, we remember certain moments and most of the rest of our lives simply connect one dot to the next.
As I dig through my own mental filing cabinet of memories, I find this to be true. I can easily and readily recall the high's and low's, but everything in the middle seems to be like the packing peanuts that hold everything in place. When I remember the highs, or the good times, it is not uncommon for a particular memory to stick out in my mind because of what someone else did selflessly for me. Oftentimes the selfless acts of others make the deepest impressions. For example, I remember one time when my mother took a $100 bill and put it under someone's windshield wiper in a blank envelope with no name attached to it. I also remember one time that my father, when we were just visiting a church, jumped in and started moving tables and chairs even though we all knew we were never coming back to this church. I remember one time, as a teenage driver, that I backed right into a woman in a Wal-Mart parking lot and dented her up car pretty good. I got out, albeit nervously and reluctantly, and she said simply, "God Bless You and I hope you have a Merry Christmas." I owed her, bigtime, and she helped me when she certainly didn't have to.
I think these memories stick out in our minds because they are so counter-intuitive to what our selfish human nature is wired to do. We are wired to be selfish, and we are wired to look out for ourselves more than others. And yet, as Christians, we are called to have the attitude of Christ. Paul summarizes that attitude in Philippians 2 when he writes,
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!"
Talk about selfless! Here was the immortal, eternal, all-powerful King and Creator of the world and everything in it who left EVERYTHING to become NOTHING for us and did so gaining NOTHING in the process, aside from a relationship with us. THIS is how much He loves you. THIS is the greatest demonstration of selflessness the world will ever know. And, THIS is the standard to which you and I are called. By the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us, we are called to view others the same way that Christ views us.
By displaying such a humble, Christ-like attitude toward others, Christ can use us to make these same deep, indelible impressions on others. By working through His people, Christ becomes the points on the line graph of their lives. Pray that the Holy Spirit will make you aware of the many opportunities you have to display the attitude of Christ to those around you. In doing so, you never know how deep an impression Christ will make on them through your selflessness and obedience.
Each week this blog will be updated with a word for the week from my current studies.