Selflessness In a Consumeristic Society

By Dave Paolozzi

What is the first thing that comes to your mind in the morning when you get out of bed? If you are anything like me it is I have to go to the bathroom, or I am hungry, or I have to do….. It's all self focused though, right? We just automatically think of our needs. Now I am not saying that is wrong, I am just pointing it out. I think recognizing our propensities is the first step in changing our ways.

Philipians 2:3 - “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others more important than yourself.”

We need to actively look for ways to put others' needs ahead of our own needs, wants, and desires. Why though? Because the Bible tells us so? Yes, but it is more than that. We live in a world that is so full of hate and opinions that living selflessly speaks louder than those hates. Actions speak louder than words. Billy Graham once said, “I preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary I use words.”

From a young age we have been taught by our loving parents that our (the individual) needs are super important. When I was a baby I needed my mom to change my diaper and feed me. Now that I'm older I can do those things myself, but has the focus changed? Am I still the center of the world? A test can be when I don't get something that I want, how do I respond? Am I angry? Sad? etc…Even though it feels like we are the center of life, there is so much more going on around us. Life isn't all about us and our wants and desires.

Put your finger on your nose. Repeat after me. “It's not all about me.” Come on, say it out loud.
Imagine a world where everyone looks out for the needs of others (consider others more important than yourself). Is that the kind of world we currently live in? Not at all. The world is a consumeristic society. What does that mean you ask? A consumerist society is one in which people devote a great deal of time, energy, resources, and thought to “consuming”. The general view of life in a consumerist society is consumption is good and more consumption is even better. The United States is an example of a hyper-consumerist society. It's self focused to get all you can get. Do you remember the slogan, “have it your way”? This is how we live life. I go to the coffee shop and I can order a Venti, non-fat, no foam, triple half caf, two splenda latte. It is how I roll. It's how we all roll, but do you see the problem here? It's hard to look out for other people when we live in constant consumption of products for ourselves.

Here are a few thoughts.
How often do you do something for someone without trying to get something out of it for yourself? Is it healthy to be in constant consumption?

Try to find one thing per day to do for someone else that would be helpful. How about cleaning the house? Vacuum, do the dishes, or not complain? Maybe speak something positive to someone, wear your mask, check on a neighbor or pay for the person’s coffee behind you. These are all things we might not naturally do or not even want to do, but it is looking at other’s interests instead of your own. Try to do these helpful things in secret. Don't let anyone know that you did it to help take the focus off of yourself.

Take a few seconds and let the holy spirit talk to you. Are there any areas when you have made life all about you? Are you feeling frustrated because things are not going the way you want them? Give those things over to Him.

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