Every year I make New Year's resolutions and every year I break them, so this year I'm trying something different. Instead of hoping I'll change my habits for twelve months I'm going for one month: January. For just this month I'm doing my best to focus more on the needs of others and less on me. I call it, Less of Me Month.
Remember the song, "Less of Me," by Glen Campbell. The words are as follows:
Let me be a little kinder
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me
Let me praise a little more
Let me be when I am weary
Just a little bit more cheery
Think a little more of others
And a little less of me
Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver
Let me strive a little harder
To be all that I should be
Let me be a little meeker
With the brother that is weaker
Let me think more of my neighbor
And a little less of me
Every day I'm thinking about the words to this song — I tried to make it my ringtone on my cell phone but I'm not smart enough to figure out how to do it. I'm beginning my day with Bible reading and prayer. Next I write about "Less of Me Month" on my blog (www.nanahood.com) and then during the day I find at least one random act of kindness I can do for someone else. The month is half over and so far, so good. This experiment has taught me a few things.
First, if ever there was a perfect example of someone who thought solely of others it would have to be Jesus. Because of Him ...
... the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor (Matthew 11:5 NLT).
The things we worry about simply didn't matter to him because he knew God would take care of all his needs and he tells us that we will be treated the same way (Matthew 6:25-34).
The more I study the Bible and read about Jesus and see how selfless he was, the more I realize that I was not made to serve myself. I was created to serve Him. I'm taking baby steps to get there and I'm sure sooner or later I will stumble and fall but if I walk with Jesus, together we can win the race.
Another thing I've learned is that thinking of others, at least for me, is something I have to do intentionally. In the course of a day I go about my business focused on my home, my husband, my children and my grandchild. I have to set aside a time — my morning Bible study and prayer time — to concentrate on the needs of others. If I leave it to chance and my random thought process, it may not happen.
Jesus' brother, James, reminds us to put our thoughts and good intentions to work:
Dear brothers and sisters, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone. Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, "Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well" — but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn't show itself by good deeds is no faith at all — it is dead and useless.
Now someone may argue, "Some people have faith; others have good deeds."
I say, "I can't see your faith if you don't have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds." Do you still think it's enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless? (James 2:14-20)
The world is full of people in need. Jesus knows that and he wants us to tell them about him, about the Good News of everlasting life, about a place where there is no poverty, hunger, sickness or tears. We can't save the world, but He can. He was the master of thinking more of others. I am his apprentice. When I look at his life, I can't help but feel inadequate; but then I remember that it isn't the size of the good deed that matters.
And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded (Matthew 10:42).