“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 ESV).
What is selflessness? According to Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of selflessness is this; “caring more about what other people need or want than about what you yourself need or want.” My prayer since I became a Christian has been “Lord Jesus, let them see You not me.” You see, I am single and live alone most of the year. The only person I need to be concerned with is—me.
I recently had an opportunity to put this prayer into practice. My family came for a month-long visit. It was wonderful to see them after 18 months. I enjoyed the conversations, the travel, and the laughter. Oh, how they make me laugh. Then reality set in! All that conversation, travel and laughter comes at a cost. I was tired and grumpy. I am not used late nights and someone constantly calling my name.
One day, after my mother had called my name for the hundredth time, I said, “I’m changing my name!”
She quipped, “what’s your new name?”
I quickly replied, “I’m not telling you.”
We laughed. It became the running joke for the remainder of the visit. But what does selflessness look like in real life? Is it selfless to stay up past your bedtime to watch a movie with your sister? Is it selfless to drive around time running errands for and with your mother? I spent the last month trying to be selfless. I tried hard to be my best self, despite what my mind and body wanted. Being selfless meant anticipating a need before it occurred. It meant talking to others to understand their needs. It meant watching movies that I didn’t choose. It meant listening when I wanted to talk. It meant being respectful when I felt like yelling.
My family’s visit reminded me that Jesus was selfless. John 15:13 (ESV) says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus laid down his life for me. I can lay down my life for my family and friends without being angry, rude, and disrespectful. When I focus on being Jesus’ representative in the Earth, then I can smile, laugh, and love while serving others.
Dear Jesus, please remind me that when I’m in the middle of everyday life, I need to be more like You. Help me to be selfless by giving with peace, love, grace, and joy—beyond how I feel. Amen.
Your turn: Do you struggle with being selfless? If so in what way? Do you have any advice for those of us who struggle in this area?