Have you ever had to give up something you wanted for someone else?
There are two ways that we can choose to live our lives. The first way is to be all about yourself. To be selfish. To avoid having to give anything up. To never or rarely share. To stay away from anything that is too difficult. Or to try to get away from sad things as quickly as you possibly can.
The Apostle Paul did not live his life that way at all. Instead Paul and his friends chose to live a life where he gave things up for others. He chose to suffer and be sad so that others could be happy and know about Jesus. Here’s how he describes his life to the Christians in Corinth:
2 Corinthians 4:12. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Paul is describing the second way to live our lives. A way that looks like dying. He says that “death is at work in us.” But what does that mean? It sounds sort of scary doesn’t it? But what he means is that Jesus is at work in him. Jesus died for us so that we might be able to live forever. Jesus gave up everything for others. Jesus didn’t run away from hard things, or sad things. Instead everything he did was so that others could know about God and his eternal life. Jesus shared, and gave, and helped, and put others first. And so did Paul. And so can you and I.
Why would we choose to live that way? Because then “life can be at work in others.” When we give up things in our life for others it helps them to have a better life. And that’s how you make friends and build trust with people – by sharing. And in the end we can share Jesus with our friends too. We can share eternal life with them so that they can know God too.
And that is the best way to live. To live by dying to our selfishness. To live by giving. To live like Jesus did, and like Paul did – a life of sacrificing so that others might live.
Because of Jesus we have everything that is his, forever.
With Jesus we can give things up so that others might live.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Talk about ways or make a list of things you can share with others so that they can be happy. Help your kids to see ways that they tend to be selfish. Confess to them any ways you have been selfish – choosing life over death for the sake of others.
I don’t want to be selfish. I want to be able to live like Jesus and Paul and share my life with others. And when I fail to live this way I know you still love me no matter what.
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