Selfishness Is Not The Way
We are living in unprecedented times. Never in my lifetime would I have thought about churches and businesses being forced to close to combat an invisible enemy. These strange times have been rather eye opening from many different perspectives. We have seen the best of humanity come to aid of those in need. In contrast, we have also seen the selfishness of people on full display.
Looking at teachings of scripture, it becomes evident that selfishness is not what Christ intends. The lives of great saints also reiterate this teaching. Instead of hoarding, we shoud be purchasing what is needed for our families. However, the opposite is going on. People are purchasing large amounts of products to the peril of others.
What Does Jesus Say?
There is no question that panic has set in for many. Panic pushes people to resort to desperate measure. Even to the point of acting irrationally. This behavior may be rationalized to the point where one sincerely thinks they have the welfare of their family in the front of their mind.
This is admirable, but misses the bigger picture. In Luke 10, Jesus was approached by a young man who asked a simple question. He asked who is neighbor is. Jesus responds with the now popular teaching of the Good Samaritan.
The whole parable is very profound, but the end is one that is particularly touching. In Luke 10:36-37 we read the following exchange:
“Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (NRSV)
Are we really showing mercy when we are purchasing large quantities of items? No…not really. We are not allowing other hard working families to purchase said items for their families. It is the ultimate act of selfishness because one is basically saying that their needs is what matters, and the needs of others do not.
How we treat others is a reflection of who we are as Christians. In Matthew 25:40 our Lord says something that should pierce any heart. In that passage Christ says, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (NRSV).
Wisdom Of The SaintsThe great saints of the church speak much about selfishness. St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Above all the grace and gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self”. St. Gregory the Great states, “The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things, but when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist“.
There are many more times in which the saints speak on this topic. However, these two provide a lesson on Christian virtue. To act selfishly is to act in the absence of love. Through the grace that Christ gives us, we can overcome selfishness and show the love of Christ to others.
Call To Action
Some may misconstrue what I am writing at take it to an extreme. By no means am I saying that you cannot take care of yourself and your family. However, there is quite difference between stocking up and hoarding essential products.
Those in greatest need among us, such as the elderly and infirmed, have not been able to purchase necessities because of this behavior. Purchase what you will use, and store a little bit, but leave some for others to function.
If you are claiming to be a Christian and participating in this behavior then please ask yourself a question. What would Jesus do? Yes, I realize that it is a catchphrase from the 1990’s, but it rings true. We are all in this together, and only looking out for each other will we stem the pandemic that we currently find ourselves in. Help where you can, purchase only what you need, don’t price gauge, and love your neighbor. It will not only make the present environment a little better, but it will also do so going forward.
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