I was recently having coffee with an acquaintance to get to know him a little better. He’s been active in trying to get some business ideas off the ground and I thought it would be fun to hear more about the story.
After about a half-hour of talking about life and some of their latest pursuits it became pretty clear to me that he had zero intention of getting to know me. Somehow in his mind he had come to the conclusion that I had nothing to offer in terms of getting the business venture one step further down the road toward success. Walking away from our time together was disheartening for me. I prefer to think of myself as valuable and important enough to be given an opportunity to be heard. Being marginalized as not important enough was an awful feeling.
I have the same tendency in my own life. Too often I place extra worth and make an extra effort to value and get to know the people at my church who can benefit and help the ministries I coordinate.
While my whole family was together over Christmas (a rare thing these days) we shared which of the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) we had grown in the past year and which ones we wanted to grow in this coming year. I shared that I wanted to grow in kindness and love because I tend to use people as cogs in my machine that must be extremely efficient or I try to replace them.
Our entrepreneurial society tells us to value only those who can help us take the next step toward significance and success.
God tells us to love all people.
Somewhere along the line we must learn the lesson of laying down our own desires for the good of all people. Somehow we must counter-culturally show love and kindness to all people despite our true nature pushing us to do the opposite.
As long as we are most concerned about keeping ourselves #1, Christlikeness will never be an attribute of ours.