I was driving down Santa Monica Blvd. the other day and I saw a billboard (I hate billboards, but that’s another story) put up for the U.S. Marines. It stated:
“A commitment to something greater than themselves.”
I was thinking what a good description that is of a vitalized couple, family, business or church.
It is also often hard to achieve. Why? Without dressing it up, it is simply this: selfishness. I want what I want when I want it. Me first, last and always.
Don’t get me wrong here. I really don’t like self-sacrifice. It just goes against my nature. I don’t always think: “what is best for Nan and me as a couple?” Or “how do I best serve the church.” More often I ask myself “where do I want to serve that best fits my needs, my schedule, my desires.” Ouch.
When both of us lose sight of our “coupleness” we often find ourselves locked in power struggles, vying to be the lead dog. The problem here is that the result is always collateral damage. One of us may win the battle but ultimately lose the war. Or at least we lose peace at home, which for me is a huge deal. If you have ever seen a couple locked in a bitter power struggle (or been there yourself) you know exactly what I am talking about. It is painful and damaging.
But when I keep the big picture in mind, (strengthening love bonds, financial stability, reaching people for Christ, easing people’s suffering, etc.) I am able to push past my selfish tendencies and feel good about it. That is why volunteerism is so important. It is a win-win proposition. It nurtures the human soul while accomplishing a higher purpose.
Kids need to see this in their parents. This “other focus” helps kids to grow and mature and adjust to the realities of life. It will make them a better spouse, parent, employee/employer, citizen.
For the church, the challenge is to not be distracted by focusing on self-preservation, but to be clearly following a vision that was set down more than 2000 years ago.
I want to direct you back to the first paragraph and emphasize one word: commitment. It is something we often take too lightly.
Where have you succeeded in making and following through with commitments to something greater than yourself? Where have you failed?
Perhaps now would be a good time to either commit or re-commit.
Thanks for listening.