Those four words stood out in bold print.
They appeared as if they were forming an enormous monument, each letter seemingly chiseled out of granite. At the base of this strange "monument" were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people with their arms held up high, as if worshiping at a shrine. And then, in very small letters, this caption appeared at the bottom of the editorial cartoon: "Speaking of American cults . . . "
Surrounding the borders of this picture were four familiar lines from well-known commercials:
"Have it your way."
"Do yourself a favor."
"You owe it to yourself."
"You deserve a break today."1
Jab, jab. Twist, twist. That kind of stuff really hurts. Because it is so terribly true. Yet, we constantly applaud the I-me-mine-myself philosophy in subtle as well as overt ways. We make books on the subject of selfishness bestsellers by buying them by the millions. We put the gifted on a pedestal and secretly (if not publicly) worship at their shrine. And we make every effort to "look out for number one" at all cost.
Let's admit it; ours is an age of gross selfishness. The "me" era. And we get mighty uncomfortable even when God begins to make demands on us.
Of course, our inner "self" doesn't want to dump God entirely, just to keep Him at a comfortable distance. Just enough to keep our guilt level below the threshold of pain, just enough to guarantee escape from eternal flames. But certainly not enough to make us nervous . . . to start pushing around our prejudices or nit-picking at our lifestyles. After all, this business of wholesale commitment to the cause of Christ needs to be kept in proper bounds!
How refreshing to read what Paul wrote to the church in Philippi about young Timothy:
For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:20-21)
I . . . ME . . . MINE . . . MYSELF. Aren't you glad Jesus didn't cling to those values?
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