Who are you? Do you think life revolves around you? Does everything that happens in life, only happen to you? When we are younger, I think that’s the case, because our world-view and experiences are so small. But as we grow older and wiser, we know better. There are billions of other people in this world, 7.9 billion to be exact.
But why then, when things happen, do we tend to think they are only happening to us? Why do we think that God must be punishing us or dealing with us in some way? We lose a loved one, a marriage fails, a job falls through. These things happen all over the world everyday to everybody. But at least we have food, shelter and clothing. Those are basic life necessities. Yet sadly, not everybody has them. We take them for granted.
How did we get so self-absorbed? Is it our culture, our society that nurtures us to think that life is all about us? Our own wants and needs?
Expanding Our World View
I used to teach junior high and high school students in our community about people in other parts of the world with a program from World Vision called the 30 Hour Famine. It was a real eye-opener about how the rest of the world really lives. Students would spend the weekend at the YMCA going 30 hours without food. It was extremely hard for these young kids, so we kept them busy with games and activities that taught awareness about how people in other countries actually lived. It’s pretty humbling to think that right here in midwest Ohio, we are richer than 97% of the rest of the world.
There are 805 million hungry people on the globe. That’s about 1 out of every 9 people. About 6400 children die from hunger-related causes every day. This makes me sad as I think about the food I throw away and waste and the people who don’t have enough to eat, let alone not enough to clothes to wear or shelter from the weather. Hunger kills another child every 10 seconds.
I tend to worry about what shoes go with my outfit, if I’m honest. My freezer is full of meat and I probably have 4 or 5 coats to choose from and a nice roof over my head. I don’t have to worry about keeping the furnace set low because of the cost of the gas to fuel it.
We just came off of a wonderful Thanksgiving. How about for the next month or two we take the focus off of ourselves and look out for others? Let’s go out of our way this year and do something special for others. Let’s learn to make others more important than ourselves, because friends, believe it or not, that’s when you begin living life to the fullest.
When you become truly concerned about the welfare of others, looking out for their wellbeing, a ripple or boomerang effect happens. What you give out comes back to you. Helping others helps you. It warms your heart. You are no longer the center of the universe. Love becomes the center. And we know who Love is don’t we? It’s God. He becomes the Center, as He should be.
So let’s practice a few things to help us take the focus off of “self”.
- Learn about your neighbors. Do they have any needs that haven’t been met?
- Donate clothing or diapers to a pregnancy help center. Buy coats and hats and gloves for the local clothing bank. Donate food to your local food bank. Leave a backpack with blankets warm gloves or socks in the park for the homeless man hanging out under the bridge.
- You know that thing you wanted that you’ve been saving for, that toy? Take that money and give it to someone in need. Buy groceries, gas or help pay their electric bill.
- Call your church. They usually have names of people who are in need at Christmas.
- Be willing to sacrifice your time to benefit someone else. Volunteer for a soup kitchen, a clothing bank or pregnancy help center.
- Visit with someone who is homebound. Help make them the center of the universe for a day. See how good it will make you feel.
- Visit a Third World country for a reality check.
Changing Our Perspective
We have become a society that is slowly losing its perspective on how important it is to think of others, especially after the last two COVID years. We have been really focused on ourselves, keeping ourselves healthy. It’s time to let go of the me mentality and get back to serving God and others.
God should be the center of your universe. Serving Him, loving Him, worshiping Him. Yes, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, but we don’t stop at loving ourselves. We have to give that love we have for ourselves away.
A personal relationship with Jesus is amazing. And as we grow in our faith and love for Him, He invites us to give away the fruit of that relationship to others through love, caring, giving, and ultimately, self-sacrifice.
I’m issuing a challenge from now until the first of the new year: I’m calling it the, ‘Each One, Reach One’ challenge. I’m challenging you to start by reaching out to just one person: a family member, friend or stranger. Step outside your comfort zone and do more than you’ve ever done before to help them. Stretch yourself. Make it hurt a little and give up something to be able to give to them this Christmas. Do a little more than just throw some money into a pot outside the store. (–Although those organizations greatly appreciate our change.)
Pick up this challenge and schedule it in your planner or calendar. Make helping others a habit. Because Love needs to be the center of the Universe.
You can find me on Facebook @blogbyBarb. Drop me a line and let me know what you’re doing to help others this season. That’s always encouraging. Thanks for following along. I appreciate you!