Living for Others
Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Corinthians 10:24
Back when I was 35 years old, I lived out a dream of playing football one last time. A local amateur team came to town and I joined up. The first few games I rode the bench quite a bit, which was disappointing. I subsequently whined to another player sitting on the bench with me. Aren’t you frustrated? Don’t you want to get in there? He responded with something I found odd. He said that he wanted whatever was best for the team. If being in the game was best for the team, he wanted that. If being on the bench was best, then he wanted that.
I was dumbfounded. Sure, I wanted the team to win, but I wasn’t going to practice, risking my limbs, primarily for the good of everyone else. I wanted to play. If I’d had to choose, I’d have chosen me playing over the team winning. I was in it for my experience. Honestly, his selflessness was foreign to me.
Today is Memorial Day, a day during which we’re to remember, honor, and mourn those who’ve died in active military service. The very phrase, to serve in the military, implies giving of oneself for the good of others. Simply being in the military is to embrace this concept of living – and perhaps dying – not for self, but for the good of everyone else.
This isn’t a natural thing for most of us. Most of us, in any situation, first ask, What’s in this for me? We don’t inherently desire to sacrifice ourselves for the good of our neighbors. Sure, we may want others to do well, but if we had to choose them or us, we’d choose ourselves.
In today’s passage, Paul insisted that as Christians, we must live differently. We’re to concern ourselves primarily, not with our own good, but rather, the good of those around us.
On Memorial Day, as I reflect on those who’ve lived and died selflessly, I can’t help but think that our country and culture need more of this. The problem is that this is something I like to point at others. You all need to be less selfish. I can’t decide this for anyone else though. Paul’s words are for me and today, if I want to follow Christ, this is something I must choose to live. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.
We would, I think, have quite a different culture and country if we all lived for the good of those around us.