Remember those times in elementary school when you wanted that yummy pie on your friend’s plate?
“You gonna eat that?” you might say, putting your finger smack-dab in the middle of it.
“Well, not anymore,” they’d reply.
Or maybe you were on the receiving end of such silly antics, frustrated at your friend’s selfishness. Of course, very few of us looked at that delicious pie and wanted to give it to someone. No way. That was our pie.
I remember those days very well. I also remember the day, about four years ago, when I was eating dinner and had some food on my plate that was seconds away from being devoured. But my first child, my then-1-year-old son, had been eyeing it, and he wanted it, too. You see, there were no leftovers on the table. If I ate it, he would not get any more food. But if he ate it, I would not get any more.
What do you think I did? I gave it to him, without hesitation.
Throughout Scripture, God commands us to avoid selfishness, and for good reason; we all struggle with it. Paul tells us to do “nothing from selfish ambition” (Philippians 2:3). Peter tells us to humble ourselves (1 Peter 5:6). Jesus Himself tells us to deny ourselves and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). But it’s hard, isn’t it?
Nothing wipes selfishness out of your life like parenting. I didn’t think I was a selfish person as a bachelor, but in hindsight, I probably was. And I still am – we all are, to some degree — but I’m further along in my goal of selflessness than I was.
I’m thankful for what God’s taught me about selfishness. Here are 5 specific lessons I’ve learned: