Friday, January 10, 2003
Pam was a young woman who was active in a Campus Life Club I ran some years ago, and she was very lonely. She used to call different ones of us leaders two or three times a week. Pam felt like she was unattractive. She had never had a date, and she had problems at home. And she usually called to talk about her problems and how depressed she was. Until that week she called me and I said to her, "Pam, don't call me again until you've carried out an assignment I'd like to give you." Well, I encouraged her to go to the local senior citizens' facility and volunteer for one night. She was hesitant, but she did it.
Well, that night she read to those folks and she walked with them and listened to their stories. When she was leaving, some of them asked, "When will you be back?" Well, she hadn't planned to come back. But their encouragements caused her to tell them, "Uh, next week." She did go back the following week - and virtually every week after that through the rest of high school. Last I knew, she'd become a doctor. Once she started to live for some people who needed her, Pam didn't call much anymore. She didn't need to. She was too busy making a difference.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Escaping The 'Me' Monster."
The "me" monster. That's the tendency to think about myself most of the time, and it's the main reason Pam was down so much of the time, and maybe you are. There's nothing like hurt and pain and pressure to turn us into self-focused people. Too often, life is about my needs, my issues, my problems, my agenda, my feelings, my load. But a life of self-focus or self-pity or self-centeredness is just not how we were wired to live, especially if we belong to Jesus Christ.
Listen to our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 5:15. It says that Jesus "died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again." Notice "no longer for themselves." Now that might be a word God knows you need to hear right now because, without you even realizing it, the "me" monster has been consuming too much of your time and your attention and your conversation.
My friend Pam learned something when she began to focus on the needs of others rather than on her own needs - that the most satisfying times in our lives are the times when we're living for others. Take Christmas, for example. Think about the joy you experience in giving, sometimes sacrificially, to someone you love. Or that time when you went out of your way to help someone you really didn't have time to help. Or if you've ever been on a missions trip. Remember the deep sense of fulfillment you felt from sacrificing to serve some people who needed you? Life's golden moments aren't the ones that are about us - they're about others!
So, if you've been feeling down, you need to do what I challenged that young woman to do - find someone who needs you and do what you can to reach out to them. It may be a hurting neighbor or co-worker or fellow student, someone in the hospital, someone who's recently lost a job or even someone they love, maybe your pastor or a Christian worker you know, or someone who is going through the same kind of valley you've been through. Your pain can become God's powerful tool to understand and encourage someone who's experiencing that same kind of hurt. No one could help them like a wounded healer - someone like you.
All the way to the cross - even on the cross - Jesus kept thinking of others. If He's your Lord, then that's supposed to be your focus, too. When you live your life asking, "Who needs me today?" you can finally escape the depressing clutches of the "me" monster.