Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky. – Ecclesiastes 12:2
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the mindset of Christ Jesus.
On February 9, 2018, around 9 A.M., 93-year-old Morrie Boogaart died from cancer. When he was about 75 years old, Morrie decided how he was going to spend the rest of his life. He had been helping people his entire life, asking and expecting nothing in return. Morrie decided to knit hats for homeless people. He stopped counting after he had made 8000 of them. Through social media, he became well-known worldwide for his selfless effort. He was dubbed the Hat Man. People from everywhere started sending him yarn.
Diagnosed in 2015 with cancer, he refused to let his health or other physical limitations become the focus of his life. Instead, he looked beyond himself and put the needs of others before his own. Knitting hats became his primary activity. When Morrie would wake up, he started knitting. He did not stop knitting until he fell asleep at night. Even when he was in hospice care because of cancer, even while bedridden he continued to work. As the end approached, he began to slow down. He continued steadily stitch by stitch. At the time of his death, he was knitting just one hat every 2 days.
Morrie said that learning to knit is one of the best things that ever happened to him. It gave him a purpose. People wonder what his motivation is. It was twofold. He said, “Why do I do it? It just makes me feel good. I know I have to be here, but I don’t do it very fast.” Further, he said, “If you take this [knitting hats] away from me, my life is over. Please don’t take it away.”
But there is more. A well-worn Bible sat on his nightstand. Having become a child of the King, he was very familiar with the selfless standard that the Lord Jesus Christ and set. Morrie unequivocally declared, “I’m going to do this until I go home to the Lord.”
Morrie’s daughter, Karen Lauters said in his passing, “It is difficult for us to let him go but he was so ready to rest in the arms of his Lord and we rejoice that he has traded his knitted hats for a crown of glory and walks with Jesus.”
When you are young you think you will live forever. When you are old you think about how much time you have left to live. And the question becomes how shall I spend my time? Many people create a bucket list of things they want to do for themselves before they “shuffle off this mortal coil.”
Each child of the King has Lord Jesus Christ “spare time” on their hands. What will you do with your time? We can choose to serve others, or we can choose to serve ourselves.
REFLECT & PRAY
“‘Selfish ambition’ stands at the heart of human fallenness, where self-interest and self-aggrandizement at the expense of others primarily dictate values and behavior” (Fee).
Father help me to abandon selfish ambition and empty conceit and have the same mindset as the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is not the mindset of Christ? Paul categorically spells it out.
3 Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.
4 Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well.
The first half of Philippians 2:3 has no verb. It can be literally translated, “nothing according to selfish ambition nor according to empty conceit.” Yet it carries an imperative force. It is a command to be followed. It has the sense, “don’t do anything or “do nothing” or “never act” (UBS). What is it we are not to do?
The Greek term translated as selfish ambition is eritheia. Eritheiahas the sense of self-seeking pursuit or selfishness. It characterizes someone with a strong drive for personal success without moral restraints.
The Greek term translated empty conceit is kenodoxia. Kenodoxia is derived from kenos – empty and doxia – glory. Its plain sense is straightforward and striking. It can be translated: self-conceited, vain pride, empty pride, desire for praise, empty conceit, (groundless) boasting.
Thinking of these two terms, it is easy to picture in your mind some proud, boastful, “self-obsessed” character, perhaps a politician, whose picture would go next to this word in the Greek dictionary.
In Matthew 20:26 Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,
Philippians 2:5 You must have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.