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Sunday, November 16, 2008

I find myself paranoid a lot as a pastor. This person is not happy and is leaving the church – what did I do? That person is mad and won’t come to worship – what did I say?

It isn’t about me. I’ve got to get over this paranoia because all it is, really, is self-centeredness.

Soldiers who go to war tend to band together in a brotherhood that will last their lifetimes. Those who are only interested in saving their own skins, thinking of only themselves, tend to not even survive the war. But those who think of others first, sacrificing even their own lives, they have figured out what God has been trying to tell us all along. This isn’t about you. At least, it’s not about you alone.

A tontine is a financial agreement that quite often led to greed and – in story, at least – murder. I first came across the term in a TV episode of M*A*S*H, however. The story was about five men who served together in World War I and came across a cache of brandy. They saved one bottle and agreed that the last of the five to be left alive would drink a toast to the other four.

It was a story about friendship, brotherhood, thinking of others and the relationship that was forged in war and lasted a lifetime.

This story’s lesson – for me – is to think of others first. It tells me that there is more to this life than just my part in it. That life’s story is actually larger than me.

I think God has been trying to teach me this lesson for a long time. The first Bible verse I ever memorized was John 3:16. Have you noticed that it isn’t about an individual? It’s about the world! It doesn’t say that God loved me so much that He gave His only-begotten Son. It says that God so loved the world.

Of course, God loves me and you as individuals. After all, we’re part of the world. But the emphasis isn’t on the individual. I think this is because God doesn’t want us to focus on ourselves. He wants us to also look to the needs of others. Have you ever noticed in the Ten Commandments that after the first three that deal with our relationship with God the next seven deal with our relationship with others? This is something that God doesn’t want us to miss.

This life isn’t about us. It’s about God and His love for us in Jesus Christ. He saved us from our sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We then respond by sharing this love with other people. The best way is to band together, to work together in bringing the Gospel to the whole world.

©2008 True Men Ministries.

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