Ever look around and wonder where your life went? Where did the time go? As we get older (I don’t have a specific age in mind), something begins to happen to the way we see life, people and time. Something seems to change us in a profound way. Time seems to slow down, now that is has stopped moving at light-speed. And we enter a moment in time in which the reality of our own mortality, humanness if you will, moves to the forefront of our consciousness. For perhaps the very first time, we are aware of ourselves. In that moment, we are aware that our time on earth will in fact end. The people we know will, at some point, pass on. And the imprint we have made on this earth will be short-lived. When we are gone, the earth will continue to spin. Babies will be born. Seasons will continue to change. Churches will continue to meet. People will continue to find humor and hope in life. Even the Starbucks you attend every day will continue to make coffee for the addicts (like you) who drink it religiously. Life will keep moving…with or without you. This can be a sobering reality. Especially when you think highly of yourself, or you want to think highly of yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m just saying that the higher you value yourself, the more shaken this reality will be for you. That’s all. But life will move on without you.
You see, the problem with us humans is that we have a perspective problem. The way that we see the world is distorted from the above reality. We don’t want to think about our mortality. We don’t want to think about people moving on and living life business as usual once we’re gone. We want people to suffer when we’re gone. We want them to remember that we are gone. And deep down I think (we won’t admit this) we want people to continue grieving the loss of me. Why? Because we have a perspective problem. This problem is called SAM. SAM stands for “Simply About Me.”
SAM is our friend. In fact, SAM is our “bestie.” That’s what my teenage daughter calls her best friend. SAM is our best friend. He’s always with us and we’re always conscious of him. You may be married to SAM. Note: if you’re a guy and you’re reading this, I am not implying you are a homosexual. I have simply given the acronym a gender. Continuing…in our lives, life is Simply About Me. The way we see life, people and time is comprehended through the concept of what we can benefit from them. Now, there’s nothing wrong with considering what we can benefit from life, people and time, but I believe there’s a healthier way of living. This healthier way of living would help prevent us from looking back on life with regret. It would help prevent the destruction and hurt we often bring to the people we love and care about and the pain we often bring into our own lives. In fact, living by this new principle would begin the process of changing your home, your workplace, your church and your community in a profound way.
“Pastor Jamie, I’m only one person. I probably couldn’t make a really big impact that way, much less even my own home.”
There’s a story of a young boy who was walking along the shoreline. He was amazed at the scene. He couldn’t help but notice thousands of starfish all over the shore. They had washed-up during high-tide. The young boy, knowing the starfish would die if they remained out of water too long, began to pick them up and throw them back into the ocean. One-by-one, he picked them up, tossing them as far as he could. An older gentleman, who was walking his dog, couldn’t help but notice the boy tirelessly throwing starfish into the ocean. The gentleman approached the young boy and asked what he was doing. When the boy told him that he was saving the starfish’s lives, the older gentleman said, “Don’t take this the wrong way young fella, but there are thousands of starfish out here. You can’t possibly make a difference.” The young boy with disappointment lowered his head, staring at the sandy starfish in his hand. He then quickly looked up at the old gentleman, turned toward the ocean and threw it as far as he could. When the starfish hit the water, regaining life, the young boy pointed at the ripple and said, “I made a difference to that one.”
Your impact on just “one” is an incredibly huge impact. But a changed perspective is required. SAM is hampering your life and the lives of those around you. Are you ready to let SAM go and SAY? That’s right, SAY. Everyone wants to be heard, including you and now it’s time for the world to hear you as you encourage and build others up. It’s time to release the regret, embarrassment and shame and SAY something. Ready?
SAY means “Simply About You.” Your life is no longer Simply About Me, but it has changed to being Simply About You. Who is “you”? “You” represents two: 1) God, and 2) others. “You” is not you, yourself or I. It’s about God first and others second. Devote yourself to prayer, reading God’s Word for direction and obedience to Him. This is first because without this relationship with God, your impact can not be healthy. It’s important we do things that are good in God’s eyes instead of assuming we’re doing good things because they are pleasing to us or they seem good. God alone determines what is good. Doing good in God’s eyes can’t start with doing good things. It only starts with a relationship with Him. Find a place where you can be alone and talk to God. Thank Him for what you have and ask Him to help you be the person He wants you to be.
Secondly, it means focusing your attention away from yourself and focusing on the well-being and encouragement of others. When you come to a crossroad of doing something that will benefit you unnecessarily, consciously and intentionally decide to do something for someone in need. The more you focus on serving and helping others, the more joy, happiness, comfort and peace you will find in your own life. It doesn’t seem to make sense, but focusing on others instead of yourself is like a golf swing. It makes sense to swing the club as hard as possible (like in baseball) if you want the ball to go farther; but it’s not the way. A nice, smooth swing with the right mechanics sends the ball farther. Weird! I know. It seems logical to serve yourself if you want to receive. But if you want to receive eternal and priceless peace, joy and happiness that only God can give, then you must focus on others. It’s worth it, trust me.
I wonder what would happen if everyone in your household were to say, “My life is SAY!” I wonder what changes would occur. What if everyone at your workplace lived life characterized by SAY? Our neighborhood? Our community?
Decide to make a difference to one. SAY something today.
Father, thank You for loving me and blessing my life the way you have. I have so much to be thankful for. Forgive me for centering my life around me and looking for satisfaction and fulfillment in all the wrong places. Help me to know you more intimately and depend on You in good times and hard times, both. Remind me to sacrifice, serve and help others when I feel like helping myself first. Give me the strength to do this. I need Your help. Thank You, in advance, for impacting one person through my life as it becomes Simply About You. Amen.