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It is not about me

     On Sunday, February 19 I shared with you all what is a common theme for me in preaching, it is not about you and me.  Every day the world bombards us with images and words to make the world all about us, throughout my life I have been told, “you deserve a break today”, “have it your way”, “our business is you”.  Every car advertisement is meant to make us feel the car in the ad is made just for us.  Most everyone has, what is by far the most pointed advertising ploy to make us want a product, an iPod, iPhone, iPad, or iBook.  The Apple Company pushed the understanding that it is all about me with the naming of its products.  We are told that no one else matters and we should only look out for ourselves.  This is the world’s message not the good news of Jesus.  The world’s message looks a lot like what was found in the Daily Walk, June 29, 1993 from an unknown source.  The article was titled, “How To Be Miserable.” It says, “Think about yourself. Talk about yourself. Use “I” as often as possible.  Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others.  Listen greedily to what people say about you.  Expect to be appreciated.  Be suspicious.  Be jealous and envious.  Be sensitive to slights.  Never forgive a criticism.  Trust nobody but yourself.  Insist on consideration and respect.  Demand agreement with your own views on everything.  Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them.  Never forget a service you have rendered.  Shirk your duties if you can.  Do as little as possible for others.”  This is not what Jesus speaks of when he gives the words found in Matthew 5:38-48.  This text is part of the longer Sermon on the Mount.  In the midst of this teaching Jesus is encouraging Righteousness, being right with God, choosing to follow God over following humanity.  Jesus words go against the idea that everything is about me.  God’s way is higher than our way and Jesus calls us to follow God’s way.  We were talking about the sermon at lunch and my son, Wesley, shared a thought from an unlikely source, Louis C.K., it was a part of a TV show in which he stars as a dad.  I am taking a risk here as I don’t know that much about this comedian and sharing his name will have some of you looking him up so please whatever you find don’t judge. This one clip is worth hearing, the father is in the kitchen cleaning up from a meal and the daughter comes in and begins to complain about wanting something someone else has.  He tries to explain that everyone can not have the same things, she simply calls back it is not fair, again he tries to explain life is not fair and we all can not have what everyone else has, and again the daughter cries out that is not fair.  Finally he gets down on his knees and states the only reason you should ever look into your neighbors bowl is to make sure they have enough!  What a thought, we do spend way too much time looking into our neighbors bowl to see what they have that I don’t, we compare and this leads to be miserable.  But what if the only reason we looked into our neighbor’s bowl was to make sure they had enough, to make sure they were happy, healthy and loved?  I had never heard this thought, well done to some sitcom writer somewhere.  So how have you looked into your neighbor’s bowl lately, has it been selfishly or selflessly?  Jesus calls us to show love and grace, to make sure our neighbor has enough in their bowl and remembers our neighbors are all of humanity, not just the ones we love and call friend.  Read Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:38-48 and be reminded!      

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