Many years ago, my mom was responsible for moving her grandfather (my great-grandfather) into a nursing home. He was in his 90s, and we had tried letting him live on his own but we kept getting calls from his friends letting us know that he wasn’t taking his meds or he was wondering around lost.
Over a few weeks time, mom and I would drive every day, over an hour away, to clean out his house. We did a lot of crying and a lot of laughing. (I treasured that time with mom, even though it was a stress-filled time.)
During our “clean out” time, we came across A LOT of stuff, some of which I can not believe he kept, like great-grandma’s false teeth. (I just shivered again thinking about it.) After finding the teeth, I was afraid to go through more stuff that day, so I opened his Bible. I was amazed, and yet SO confused, at what I saw written there.
Now, before I tell you what had me confused, I have to tell you about my great-grandfather. When I knew him, he was a preacher. (Before that, he worked in a pattern shop. He was amazing at woodwork.) He loved the Lord and wanted everyone to know Jesus. He wrote all his notes in his Bible.
So, here I am, looking at this book he used EVERYDAY, and I find these dates written and words written next to them. Some were obvious. The date he was saved, the date he was baptized, dates of marriages and births… BUT then I found this “one”. I didn’t get it. Next to the date he simply wrote, “Selfless”.
I thumbed through the fragile, crumbling, marked pages and read over some of his notes. I put the Bible in a box, and forgot about it until recently.
Years later, after I was a wife and mom, I finally understand what the date was for.
We are selfish people. We naturally think of ourselves first. We want people to love us, want to be with us, and choose us. We want to be happy. We want the best for ourselves. That’s selfishness.
To be SELFLESS means to put others ahead of ourselves. To think of them before us. What can we do to make others happy? What can we do to help others? How can we show love to others?
The part that confused me all those years ago was, how in the world was it possible for someone to just say, “I’m going to be selfless.” Wasn’t it hard? You had to be a “perfect Christian” to be able to just pick a date and say you are going to be selfless for the rest of your life. How was it that he could just CHOOSE to be selfless?
THAT WAS JUST IT! He CHOSE to be selfless! I realized that just because he wrote a date in there didn’t mean he was ALWAYS selfless. It was a date that he chose to be the start of a DAILY CHOOSING to be selfless.
Being selfish is easy! It comes naturally. CHOOSING to be SELFLESS, every hour of the day, every moment that someone makes us mad, every moment that we begin to feel like others are letting US down…those are moments we CHOOSE to be selfless or selfish. It’s a CHOICE.
I think back to the day I found his Bible. I know when he wrote it, he wrote it as a reminder for HIMSELF, but what he didn’t know was one day his great-granddaughter would find it and it would affect OTHERS. It affected me. I hope it affects you.
Who would have thought, generations later, the book he used to teach others about God’s love, would impact generations to come.
He lived his life serving the Lord and serving others, but you don’t have to be a preacher to do that.