Debra Whittington: Focus on the needs of others, not your desires

By Debra Whittington

Religon Columnist

A series of events over the last few weeks made me start thinking. When did people stop caring about others and only focused on themselves? I understand that not everyone falls into this category as there are so many caring people in the world. What I want to know is if there is a way to encourage people to quit being so self-centered.

We took a short trip over the weekend and spent some time visiting with the shift manager who was taking care of the breakfast at the motel. She told us about the maids who tried to do as little work as possible to get by and collect a paycheck. Already the housekeeper gathers all the linens and cleans the bathrooms. How can the maids think they are overworked?

As we talked, the people at the table next to us left without picking up after themselves. Their table was an absolute mess with food and juice spilled everywhere. How long would it take to gather up their trash and throw it away? Also a napkin isn’t the best at mopping up food spills, but it is an effort.

As I step up on my soapbox, I can’t help commenting on a portion of the younger population who never picked up after themselves. Perhaps their mothers thought it was easier to do it rather than argue with their children.

On another day we were visiting with someone who commented about the trash that was thrown out by the dumpster, instead of in it. Perhaps when they went to throw it in it blew out or fell by the dumpster. Shouldn’t they pick it up and place it in the dumpster?

It is time we became good stewards of our world by beginning at home. I am so proud of the people in our town who have cleaned up, painted, and fixed up their yards, homes, and businesses. In defense of some people, I realize it is difficult to keep the weeds cut with all of the rain this summer. However, as I drive around town I see many people out in their yards pulling weeds by hand. It may seem like a losing battle but they are making a valiant attempt.

Among us are people who are helping others secretly without others knowing about their generosity. They are behind the scenes trying to make a difference. Matthew 6:1 (NLT) says, “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.”

We were on the receiving end of one of these good deeds. While we were away on a trip someone came along and mowed along our fence. It looked so good when we got home and we greatly appreciated their thoughtfulness.

How I admire the people who are always doing something for someone else without expecting something in return. All of us can do something to make someone’s day brighter whether it is picking up after ourselves, being good stewards of our homes and businesses, or doing something in secret to help someone in need.

When you are living for God, your focus is taken off of yourself and your selfish desires. Colossians 3:23 NIV says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord…”  When we are living for the Lord it makes a difference for ourselves and everyone else.

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:
dawhittington@msn.com

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