For Me, or for Good?

“When he came to Jerusalem to meet [David], the king said to him, ‘Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?’ He answered, ‘O king, my servant deceived me, for [I] said to him, “I will saddle a donkey for myself, that I may go with the king.” For your servant is lame… But my lord the king is like the angel of God; do therefore what seems good to you…’ And [David] said, ‘You and Ziba shall divide the land.’ And Mephibosheth said, ‘Oh, let him take it all, since my lord the king has come safely home.'” 2 Samuel 19:25-27,29-30

“Two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. One said, ‘This woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child… On the third day.., [she] also gave birth. And we were alone… This woman’s son died in the night… And she arose and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked closely.., behold, he was not [my] child.’ But the other woman said, ‘No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours…’

“The king said, ‘Bring me a sword… Divide the living child in two, and give half to one and half to the other.’  The woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, ‘Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.’ But the other said, ‘He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.’ Then the king answered, ‘Give the living child to the first woman..; she is his mother.’” 1 Kings 3:5-9; 16-22,24-27

We can twist and finagle with positioning and words, but true motives are revealed by actions. For Mephibosheth, material goods and security meant nothing compared with his beloved king ruling from his rightful throne. For Solomon, needed wisdom for Israel took precedence over personal fame and wealth. For the young mother, her child’s very life, not her possessing him, proved her love. They all chose for good, not themselves. (1 Kings 3:5-9)

The world urges us to opt for personal gain over greater good, self over others. ‘You deserve; choose security, benefit, and pleasure.’ But we know such ends are hollow, based on no certainty of what the future holds. To triumph over selfishness we must relinquish our wants to the Lord and allow Him to turn our near-sightedness into a long view, beyond ourselves. The Lord says think forward, love Him and others as ourselves, and seek first His kingdom. This view is not welcomed or promoted in our culture, but it honors our Lord. It will be misunderstood and even criticized, but it is right. (Matthew 6:33; Mark 12:30-31; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 13:5,7-8)

Where do we give lip service to genuine care for others, yet make choices that put ourselves first? Are we really willing to forgo a pleasure or purchase for the sake of another? When do we purport to uphold truth, but deceive with ‘fibs’ in order to ‘look good,’ or to forward our own agenda? Do we say we value justice, but in reality want it for those despicable others, but only mercy for ourselves? (Romans 14:7,13-15; 1 Corinthians 8:9)

Spirit, have sway in the deepest recesses of my heart, over my impulses and consequent choices, so Life All About Me becomes Life All About Thee. (Psalm 139:23-24)

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