Once a very rich merchant passed away and left his estate to a group of friends. The instructions in his will, however, directed them to give to his only son that which they wished. They took it to mean that the son should get only what they decided to give him. The estate was worth $300,000. They met and discussed the matter. It was decided that they would give the son $10,000. When their decision was made known, the lawyer in charge of the will replied, “Dear sirs, I am afraid that you have misunderstood.” He went on to explain that they had obviously felt it was their decision to give the son whatever they decided. In reality, the will stated that whatever they wished for, the son would get. They wished for themselves, $290,000 and therefore, that is what the son got– what they wished for themselves!
Their selfishness had boomeranged on them! How often do we act like the friends, in selfishness? It is a sad case that many Christians today have become a member of the, me first, generation. They want the best for themselves, especially in the way others treat them, but they never think of how they treat others. Churches, families, business’s and friendships are hurt by their greed to be treated the best and have the best. Scripture tells us the solution to this problem:
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Philippians 2:3
Let us examine ourselves to see if we are desiring the best for ourselves, and giving the worst to others. Do we want others to forgive us when we fail, but we hold grudges and grow bitter against even the lesser failures of others?
Do we expect others to be tolerant of us in spite of our faults and failures, but we are harsh and critical, quick to point out their weaknesses and shortcomings? . . .Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Galations 5:14
Do we demand that others be kind in their words and actions to us, but we think nothing of being hateful and sarcastic to them? How often do we expect others to help us in our time of need and care, but we are too busy to do the same for them when trials come in their life?
Do we expect others to speak well of us at all times, yet we think nothing of criticizing and speaking ill of them? When we feel others are not treating us as they should, maybe we have chosen this by giving others less than we should. When in reality, we are getting what we wished for them!
This is my commandment that ye love one another, as I have loved you. John 15:12-13
Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, April 1997