“There you are”, or “Here I am”?
We all know that person who makes us feel special. Not in a romantic way – they might be a friend or coworker, or maybe a relative. They’re always happy to see you. Like almost obnoxiously happy to see you. When they ask, “how are you?” you have to choke back the standard “I’m great, how are you?” and give a real answer, because you know they mean it. They want to know. They care, and they have time to listen. They have a “there you are” kind of attitude, as if you’re just the person they wanted to see. They’re so sincere compared to most people you run across, it might even feel a bit awkward. Deep down, you’re impressed by them. Their sincerity feels good. But you also wonder – how in the world do they do it?
We also know another kind of person. The person that’s special to them, is them. They’re not mean to you, but you’re definitely not who they really care about. They have a “here I am” attitude, and you’d be lucky to get them to really see you. They might be on their phone a lot while you’re talking, or scanning the crowd behind you to see who they can talk to next. It’s the same small talk as usual, and the conversation somehow always keeps coming back to them. When it’s over, you’re left wondering – what did we just talk about?
Here’s the question you need to be asking: which kind of person are you?
Selfishness robs you of happiness
Like we talked about on Tuesday at the Porch, narcissism and self-centeredness define us in a lot of ways. Give yourself a little test: What percentage of your thoughts in the last five hours have been about yourself? How much do you care about how you look, or what other people think of you, or your own performance? How much do you battle insecurity? How many great questions have you asked others and actually listened to? How much do you show other people how important they are?
We think that looking out for #1 will make us happy. The ironic thing is, the exact opposite is true. Instead of giving something to us, selfishness robs from us. It takes away things like contentment and compassion, and it steals our opportunity to be truly great.
A revolutionary greatness
We need to redefine greatness. We need a revolution in our selfishness. We need a revolution in our relationships with others. You need to become a “there you are” kind of person, not a “here I am” kind of person. It will change your life profoundly. But how can you do it? The answer isn’t just to try harder.
To be great, be a servant, following Jesus’ example of sacrificial service and love.
In Mark 10:43-45, Jesus tells His followers “…[W]hoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
To be great, be humble, imitating the mindset that Jesus had.
In Philippians 2:2-5, Paul says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…”
This won’t be easy. Selfishness dies hard. Hebrews 12:1-2 says “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…”
To be great, look to Jesus. Focus your attention on Him, not yourself. Jesus is the One who redefines greatness and gives you the ability to achieve it (John 15:5). You can be a “there you are” kind of person by focusing on Jesus first, and drawing your love for others from the love He gives you. There He is – follow Him.