This past week I was meeting someone for lunch. In the hustle of the “got-to-get-to-and-from-lunch” traffic a mom in a nice SUV stopped in the middle of the road to talk to some lawn maintenance workers. I was right behind her and not able to go around and neither was the 5-10 cars behind me. I thought she was asking for directions or in need of some serious help so I sat there. I glanced in my rear view mirror and noticed the guy behind me was getting really upset, expressing his anger by hand gestures and contorted facial expressions. As well, the guy behind him seemed animated as he kept inching forward and jerking to a stop. So back to the lady who was stopped in the middle of the road, she seemed not to notice the now 10+ cars behind her, and proceeded to ask her critical question that was causing quite a traffic jam. One of the lawn guys saw the cars piling up and tried to signal the cars to go around, but we could not. “Wow”, I thought, “this must be really important.” I started to put my car in park and unbuckle my seat belt to come help, until I saw the critical issue that was so important to have stopped all these cars. Her son in the car seat in back needed his new toy, and it was sealed in one of those difficult to open packages that needed a knife or something to open it. So this woman, no doubt thinking only of herself and her situation, and not the laws of the road, nor the potential hazard this might cause, held up traffic for a number of minutes as this package took two guys to figure out how to open it.
Now I know this is just a little thing and I was laughing as I pulled away. The lawn maintenance guys apologized and looked sheepish for being pulled into this woman’s self-centered vortex. But it caused me to think about how selfish we can get in life as we live here in community with others. Our lives affect others as we drive, go to school, go shopping, run errands, go to church, go to practice, and live at home; yet our natural sinful selves seek to do and think more about ourselves then others. A scripture came to mind as I pondered this…
Philippians 2:3-5 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Selfishness is natural for us. We don’t have to try to be selfish. But we do have to train ourselves to be selfless like Jesus…
Philippians 2:6-8 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!
Being selfless like Jesus is to live out the word – to live, do, and be less concerned with self. For some this comes easy because you have trained well and have a servant’s attitude. People see in you that humble willingness to elevate others and serve them rather than self. Others of us need a little more practice and training, and to try a little harder to live out Philippians 2:3-5.
I wonder if that woman ever noticed what was going on behind her. I wonder if I would have noticed. Would you? Humm…just something to consider as we live life in community and seek to be like Jesus.
Grace and Peace,