The following blog post contains notes and application questions from the message "Selfishness: Life's Slot Machine" Watch the full message here.
Adam Tarnow teaches us about the negative equity game of selfishness. We think selfishness will give to us—we think we can win—but in the end, it only takes. All of us struggle with selfishness. Using Matthew 20: 1-28, Adam shows us three things selfishness robs us of: contentment, empathy, and true greatness.
Selfishness Robs Us of Contentment
Selfishness leads us to being discontent; it’s a negative equity game, it always robs from us. People who always seem grateful and happy are less selfish because their perspective—what they focus on—is on what they have.
- Focus on what you don’t have = discontentment
- Focus on what you have = gratitude
Selfishness Robs Us of Empathy
Empathy is the ability to change your perspective and put it on someone else. When we are being selfish and we are robbed of empathy, it makes us:
- Marginal friends – we only want to be surrounded by easy people
- Mediocre spouses – we think everything is our spouses fault
- Mildly awkward – we become conversation robbers and turn every conversation toward ourselves
Empathy is required if we are going to love people
Selfishness Robs Us of True Greatness
True greatness doesn’t come from being the best, it comes from giving the most. Leadership is taking initiative for the benefit of others.
Questions for Reflection & Discussion
- Are you more prone to focus on what you have or don’t have? For the next seven days, every day, write down three things you have and are grateful for.
- What’s one way you can be more empathetic? Read Philippians 2:3-4, Colossians 3:12-17, and Ephesians 4:1-3 and use those Scriptures to help you identify how you can grow in empathy.
- How can you lead—take initiative for the benefit of others—in your spheres of influence (home/family, work, neighborhood, community group)?