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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Selfish or Selfless?

Treasured friend,

By now, you know this about me. It will come as no surprise to you when I admit that I’m naturally selfish. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about putting others’ best interests ahead of my own. Not just in caregiving, but in every area of life. 

I suppose it’s the Lord’s prompting that this is an area where He plans to do some reconstruction work--yet again. 

In that frame of mind I read the first chapter of John's Gospel. That’s where four role models of pure selflessness jumped off the page and grabbed my attention:

John the Baptist—he prepares the way for the Christ to enter the scene. Then, when people question him on his feelings about Jesus outshining him, JtB makes the most unselfish statement I could imagine: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 ESV)

Then there’s Andrew. He’s with JtB and hears the proclamation of Jesus as the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.” Right away he runs to tell his brother Peter: “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41 ESV). We hear Andrew speak for himself in one other scene. He’s the one who brings the loaves and fish to Jesus (John 6). Otherwise, Andrew decreases—while his brother Peter takes over as spokesperson for the disciples.

Then there’s Nathanael and Philip. Philip tells Nathanael, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (1:45). Nathanael scoffs. But the scoffer quickly turns to faith: “Rabbi,” he says to Jesus, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Those are the only words we ever hear from him.

I’m intrigued by the fact that these first confessors of the truth about Christ's deity fade into the background as some of those they bring to Him become a sort of inner circle.

God’s Spirit showed me a lesson in the unselfishness of these who decreased so others, and more importantly, Christ, would receive all the headlines. These early believers trusted Christ, and they each served Him in everyday ways. They told others about Him—through words and obedient actions. We don’t hear of any of these disciples asking for the place of prominence in the kingdom.

Yet, I rather think God takes special notice of these servants of His. Jesus promises those who do a thousand unnoticed tasks in His name a “kingdom prepared for you.” And He calls them, "you who are blessed by My Father."

I think I can be happy trading my selfishness for that.

Blessings and prayers,


Adapted from an earlier version originally posted at in 2012. This version © 2014, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: