Sometimes I feel like a phony without valuable or authentic contribution when I sit down to write. But my heart’s desire is to point people back to Jesus for truth, and what better way to do that than to use God’s own words?! So I’ll share something that stood out to me this past week in my morning quiet time.
“Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul (the king) had bound the people under an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!’ So none of the troops tasted food.” 1 Samuel 14:24
King Saul hurt his own people because he was so blindly self-focused. Nobody was going to be happy until he felt vindicated! His son Jonathan was a different kind of leader. He looked around and seeing the damage and said:
“My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies.“ 1 Samuel 14:29-30a
Saul felt angry and defeated, so nobody would be happy until he was happy. His ego put his own goals and pursuits ahead of the best interests of his people. His leadership style was… lacking. Even his own son saw that the people needed to eat. But Saul was consumed by his own inner turmoil.
Perhaps his selfishness stemmed from insecurity, or maybe he was dealing with anger, or maybe he never felt good enough so he developed an all-or-nothing mentality. However it happened, he was self-centered and thoughtless of others. The people who depended on him for security suffered unnecessarily until he was satisfied.
Sometimes we can be so self-focused, blinders on, and fixated only on what is in front of us, that we don’t look back to see the trail of hurt and devastation we’ve left behind pursuing our own goals or dreams. Are we more interested in self-promotion than we are in investing in the growth and advancement of people around us? Can a parent be so wrapped up in the comparison game, they forget about the person they are actually supposed to be parenting? Can the captain of baseball team get so wrapped up in his own stats that he forgets about the team work it takes to make the TEAM to win? Do we forget that when the team wins, WE win?
Jesus taught that we would experience more satisfaction if we cared less about ourselves, and more about the welfare of others.
“Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.” I Corinthians 10:24
At some point, we will all need someone’s help, but who will be left if we’ve trampled over everyone else’s needs in our determination to satisfy our own desires, no matter who gets hurt? These are my wonderings today as I’m …just living the thing.