“When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your . . . relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.” // Luke 14:12-14
It was a Pinterest-perfect party: a Splish-Splash Birthday Bash that my daughter had requested for her fourth birthday (or had I pushed the theme on her?). I’d spent all night and into the morning stressing over the flip-flop cake I’d baked, getting adequate photo documentation for social media, and anticipating the other moms’ reactions. I was utterly exhausted before the first guest arrived, with virtually no energy left to attend to my daughter—whose value and dignity we were supposed to be celebrating.
In my insecurity and pride, I had made the entire thing about me. I’d expended myself for appearances’ sake, hoping to get what I wanted in return. Feelings of satisfaction from the admiration of wealthy friends. Cheap affirmations of staged perfection from my social media posts. I had tragically dismissed the far greater importance of my daughter, who in her childlike poverty could give only her love and delight in return.
We’re constantly tempted—in every area of our lives—to act in self-interest. The desires for convenient comfort or self-satisfaction often lurk as underlying motives. Even seemingly charitable actions can become pride-filled rather than love-infused when motivated by approval, admiration, or fear of rejection.
To combat these temptations, the Lord invites us to self-forgetfulness. Not because we’re not good, but in fact because we’re too valuable to reduce each other to a bartering tool for superficial status.
When you’re tempted to compromise Godly values for superficial gain . . .
When you’re distracted by worries about how you’re coming across . . .
When you find yourself seeking self-preservation instead of self-gift . . .
Stop and pray this simple prayer:
Lord, help these other souls focus on You more than they focus on me. And give me the grace to focus on You more than I focus on them.The Lord invites us to self-forgetfulness. // Megan Hjelmstad Click To Tweet