Gratefulness is one way out of a self-centered, selfish mindset.

"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4 (ESV)

I am a magnet for strange.


A few years ago I was outside with my three dogs soaking up the sunshine. We had gotten a new puppy named "Willow" for Christmas. Well, our other dogs, Champ and Chelsea, weren't sure what to think of precious, little three-pound, Willow.

She annoyed them. In every way.

I thought it would be a good investment for the dog relations in our home if I spent time with them outside, to help them all feel the love. So, I sat on the ground and loved on each dog.

They enveloped me in a flurry of wet kisses, fur, and stinky dog breath. I was having a ball. And they were all getting along. Bliss.

Until ... Willow came and sat on my lap. Claiming the prized location of closeness with me, I don't think she realized the signal she was sending. Champ suddenly backed up and growled. His tail stopped wagging. And he was not happy.

"Oh Champ," I reassured him, "Willow is a baby. Be nice."

More growling.

"No sir! Champ, be nice. Come here. I can love on you while Willow sits in my lap," I reassured him once more, while rubbing behind his ears.

He seemed to be happy again, and licked my cheek.

More bliss.

But then, out of the blue, he walked beside me, looked straight at Willow, lifted his leg, and drenched me in tee-tee!

What in the world!? I couldn't believe what was happening.

After recovering from my shock and changing my clothes, I Googled it.

Some articles I read said Champ was marking his territory. "That's MY mama!"

His strong expression of "MINE" was a vivid reminder of just how disgusting a heart bent on self can be. Champ couldn't enjoy all he was experiencing in the moment, because he was so laser-focused on the one way he felt slighted.


Sadly, I recognize this behavior because I've demonstrated this behavior.

Several years ago, God challenged me to recognize my selfishness by seeing—really seeing—all that I've been given. And never looking at a blessing as something just for me. Now, I make myself think two things ...

1. Thank You God for entrusting this blessing to me. I know it is a gift from You.

2. How can I use this as an opportunity to bless someone else? The blessing will be more rewarding if it's not all about me.

Do these things come naturally? Not at first. Not in a "Me First, Mine!, Mine!, Tee-Tee on Others" kind of world.

But we aren't called to live according to the norm, just doing what comes naturally.

We are called to rise above. Be set apart. Be different. Be pure in every way. "All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure" (1 John 3:3 NIV).

What blessing do you have that might need to be shared today? What blessing do I have that might need to be shared today?

Right in the midst of what we're doing, how can we graciously and purely represent Christ as we RE-present Him everywhere we go?

Good stuff to ponder as I washed my smelly outfit that day.

Dear Lord, thank You for every good and perfect gift You have given me. Help me to put others before me and to have a heart to see them as You do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


Reflect and Respond:
What opportunity has been given to you recently that you can pass on to others?

Will you take the initiative to do that today?

Power Verses:
Philippians 2:3, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." (NIV)

Romans 12:3, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you." (NIV)

Psalm 133:1, "How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!" (NIV)

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