Why be selfless?
As Christians, we are called to imitate Christ to the best of our abilities. Christ was completely selfless, when He allowed Himself to be mocked, scourged and crucified – all for the love of humankind; obedient to the Father’s will to the end. Prior to His Passion and death, Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Now, He is not necessarily calling us to lay down our lives for our friends literally. He is however, calling us to imitate Him in how He obeyed His Father. “He emptied himself” (Phil 2:7) to become human and did not regard Himself in equality with the Father (Phil 2:6). Jesus submitted His will to that of the Father. He calls us to do the same. This means that we are called to empty ourselves of our own wishes and desires for the total fulfillment of God’s will, the betterment of the common good and the love of one’s fellow man. If we are willing to self-surrender to God in this manner, we then die to self and Christ lives in us. John the Baptist said it well when speaking of Jesus, “He must increase. I must decrease (John 3:30).” So the bottom line is what do we value more: Self possession and all that the earthly world offers, or Christ? If we want to truly imitate Christ, then we too, must pick up the mantle from John the Baptist and embrace selflessness. We too must empty ourselves of selfishness, and of always thinking “What’s in it for me?” and fill ourselves with Christ.
“God is sovereignly unselfish, and every act of unselfishness in man faintly reflects this divine mystery.” 1 As we commit acts of selflessness, we shine the light of Christ for all to see. We imitate Christ! That’s where being selfless gets you!
- Guardini, Romano. Learning the Virtues That Lead You to God. Page 160. Manchester: Sophia Institute Press. 1987. Print