There are two types of people walking around on planet earth today. Just two. There are givers and there are takers. You know what I mean. The question is – which one are you?
Time for a Change?
The other day on Twitter I picked up this quote from Dr Tayo Adeyemi in the UK – it really caught my eye: "You are either a blessing or a burden; an asset or a liability; a problem solver or a problem. Your choice!"
And that got me thinking through all the people I know. It was really easy to categorise them either on one side of that ledger or the other. I’m imagining you’d be able to do the same.
So then, I began to imagine a world in which more of us became assets rather than liabilities. In fact – call me crazy – imagine a world where everyone is an asset and no one is a liability. Just imagine how different this world would be.
Of course, you and I can’t change every one of the 7+ billion people on the planet. But there is one person we can change. Ourselves!
On Balance – Which One Are You?
I wonder if you consider yourself for a moment, on balance – are you a blessing or a burden to the people around you. An asset or a liability. A problem solver... or a problem?
The Apostle Paul, sitting on death row in a Roman dungeon, wrote this to his friends in Philippi:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. (Phil 2:3,4)
It’s an exhortation to be a blessing instead of a burden.
Imagine a land locked sea like the Dead Sea for instance, where all the rivers flow in, but none of them flow out. The only way the water gets out is through evaporation by the heat of the sun. And the reason it’s called the Dead Sea is because there’s so much salt in it that nothing can live in it’s water.
Our selfishness is like the Dead Sea. We want everything to flow inward towards us – we want others to be a blessing to us, we want circumstances to favour us, we want, we want, we want …
It’s all about the direction of the flow of the blessing. Many a man’s life, many a woman’s life (writes S.D Gordon) is just like the circumference of that Dead Sea. When everything flows inwards … it’s dead. And by experience you and I know that that’s true.
A Transformed Life – From Liability to Asset
Paul addresses both sides of this equation in that short passage we just read.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but instead … look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
In other words stop living your life trying to be blessed all the time, and start blessing others. Turn the direction of the flow from inwards, to outwards.
And then as evidence of the fact that this radically different approach really works, he goes on to cite the prime example; the most obvious example. In the very next breath he says:
Think of yourselves the way Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honoured him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honour of God the Father. (Phil 2:5–11)
In other words the answer is in being a blessing instead of a burden; an asset instead of a liability; a problem solver instead of a problem. It’s about a complete, fundamental, 180 degree change in direction from inward, to outward.
So, you are either a blessing or a burden; an asset or a liability; a problem solver or a problem.
Read more from Berni Dymet in his blog A Different Perspective.