Dying to yourself = the key to finding yourself (Matthews 10:38-39)
To make it plain, we live in a very selfish world. The act of giving is talked about but not truly acted upon. Being a spouse, parent, and having a career can make one feel like they practice the act of giving by default and any voluntary giving can be just as simple as donating to a charity, paying tithe or offering in church, or giving a homeless person money or food and then saying “I’ve done my good deed for the day”. But that’s not dying to ourselves. When we care for our families and go to work everyday, we are simply doing it out of obligation because we feel that’s our responsibility. The simple acts of giving are done because there are simply not enough hours in the day to really “give” so we drop a dollar or two and call it a day. We are always so focused on ourselves and our own needs.We are always so quick to say “ I need rest” , “I need privacy”, ”I need time off”, “How will this benefit me?” “If I give, what will I get back?”. Dying to ourselves shifts this focus from ourselves to others and not only that, but with a cheerful heart. That’s the important part.
Giving isn’t just giving money or donating something of material possession, I think giving yourself is the best gift anyone can have. When you die to yourself, You take the time to place the burden of others on to yourself. Any issues someone may have, you have an open ear and are really listening with an open heart and then taking time to pray for that person and whatever issue they may have. You take the time to ask or tell others…”You need rest”, You need some privacy, Do you need money?, You need some time off, and ending it with let me help you. See dying to yourself brings a realization about yourself. You’re displaying the person that God created you to be. I’ve practiced this with my daughter and my step son. I am at home taking care of them everyday. I have moments where I feel like I need a break or I need privacy. I may pick up a book and starting reading or pick up my laptop and surf the web or even just pick up the remote and start channel surfing and then I look at them and shift focus off of myself to them. I may put the remote down and just give my daughter a hug or have my step son help me cook dinner.
Being a Blessing to Others
Giving yourself can bring a sense of joy as well. I remember when I was in college and I had a job working part time. Every time I would go to work, I would see a homeless man holding a sign up. The first time I saw him, I just passed him. The second time I saw him, I gave him food that I didn’t eat from lunch. He thanked me and asked me about my day and we talked for a quick minute. He seemed really nice. The third time I saw him I again gave him lunch that I didn’t eat. We had another conversation. The fourth time, I stopped and got him some food and brought it to him. He was so thankful and shared that I will not be seeing him anymore because God blessed him with a job. He said that just me stopping to talk to him blessed him and we met for a reason. That was the last time I saw him and that was nearly 15 years ago.
Dying to ourselves can not only bring blessings to others but to ourselves as well. That man blessed me and I will always remember him. So let’s practice not just giving but giving ourselves.