Thursday, May 31, 2012

Less Self by Martin Wiles

Wednesday was his day to visit the store and the day we closed at 2:30 p. m.

The little country store was the only one in town. I worked there as a day manager. Mack* was an insurance agent with flexible hours. For unknown reasons, he enjoyed visiting our store at 2 p. m. on Wednesdays wanting chicken after the kitchen was closed.

One Wednesday a waitress made the mistake of telling him we were closing soon and had no more chicken. Mack-accustomed to getting his way, didn’t like her remarks and informed the owner about the rejection. From then on, Mack got chicken regardless of what time he came.

“The customer is always right.” That’s what I’ve been told. They really aren’t, but if an owner wants to stay in business he must treat them as if they are. Paul had a similar philosophy. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves (Philippians 2:3). Not an easy assignment but essential nevertheless.

Selfishness can ruin businesses, churches, organizations and lives. It is much easier to “look out for number one,” but doing so can leave me lonely and perhaps hated. Even selfish people don’t like the trait in others. Mack was selfish but didn’t like it when the waitress was.

Humility lends a true perspective of ourselves and others. Demeaning ourselves is unnecessary, but a “less self” attitude reminds us we’re all sinners undeserving of God’s grace yet needing it and only rescued by it. Pedestals are for elevating others, not ourselves. Who are the Macks in your life that need valuing more highly?

Prayer: Father, when we’re tempted to put “me” on the pedestal, remind us how You put us first when we didn’t deserve it.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
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