I recently came across this Chuck Swindoll quote:
“Being unselfish in attitude strikes at the very core of our being. It means we are willing to forego our own comfort, our own preferences, our own schedule or own desires for another’s benefit. And that brings us back to Christ. Perhaps you never realized that it was His attitude of unselfishness that launched Him from the splendor of heaven to a humble manger in Bethlehem…and later to the cross at Calvary. How did He accept all that? Willingly.”
Imagine the state we’d be in today if Christ had protested leaving heaven, taking on human form, and dying on the cross. Imagine the mess we’d be in if He’d said, “Give up what’s rightfully mine for the sake of a bunch of ungrateful humans? Forget it.” We’d be helpless and hopeless from our first breath to our last and beyond.
Thankfully Christ modeled unselfishness to the utmost degree. Because He’s our example, we’re to be unselfish, too. Mankind being what it is, however, we struggle with that. Who wants to forego comfort, personal preferences, our own schedule, and our desires for another’s benefit, anyway? Deep down inside, many of us would rather satisfy our own needs and let others fend for themselves. But that’s not the way Christ thinks or acts, and therein lays both the tension and the challenge.
Being unselfish in attitude demonstrates Christ to a watching world. I see this happen consistently with our short-term missionary teams. Ten or twelve North Americans on each team donate two weeks of their summer to build relationships with Eastern Europeans. They give up their comfortable beds at home to share a hotel room and sleep on hard mattresses. They give up their favorite foods and customary mealtimes to eat an unfamiliar diet. They give up the ease of communicating in their own language to build friendships—sometimes through translators—with people who speak little or no English. Their unselfish actions and attitudes speak volumes, and Eastern Europeans are drawn to the Savior as a result.
I see our volunteers pour themselves out on others’ behalf, but we don’t need to go overseas to practice unselfishness. Our own homes provide opportunities aplenty for putting others ahead of ourselves. From caring for our kids to looking after senior parents, driving our children to and from school or extra-curriculars, washing clothes, cooking meals, arranging medical and dental appointments, helping with homework—all of these responsibilities and more require selfless living. How we respond to them is our choice. We can either do them begrudgingly, or we can do them willingly.
Christ gave of Himself willingly. Let’s do the same. That’s tough sometimes, especially when we’re tired, but Christ works in us to accomplish His purposes. We can ask Him to grant us His attitude, and He’ll gladly answer that prayer. May He fill us with unselfishness—to the very core of our being—so others will be drawn to Him.