You might not remember this if you are under the age of 30, but there use to be a thing call “Full Service” gas stations. Being a full service gas station indicated that besides pumping your fuel, the attendant would also wash your windows and check your vehicle’s fluids. Sounds crazy in today’s society right. We have moved from a society of “Full Service”, to a society of “Self Service”. We actively look for and celebrate ways to serve ourselves. We have self serve drinks, self serve food, self serve check outs at the grocery store, and the list goes on and on. Now, I am not saying these things are bad, but the mindset behind this new concept of business bleeds into our way of life. Society tells us that we need to serve ourselves and that in doing so we are happier and more efficient.
So what is the big deal??? Why is this even being discussed?
Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers (People in Recovery), depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs. (A.A. Big Book pg 20, italics addition mine)
This is the very nature of success for the person who seeks to live a fulfilled and productive life. Self Obsession is our number one enemy, so the serving of others seems to be the logical conclusion that leads us to victory. If agreed upon, why then is this such a challenge and why do so many fall away?
I have found that Self Obsession’s favorite weapon is amnesia. We so quickly forget where we have come from, what has happened for us, who has helped us, and the means to which we got there. Simply said, “we willingly forget”. This willing forgetfulness is not as obvious as one would think. It comes in the form of justification, manipulation, minimizing, etc. It is a subtle transition that takes place over time. With this transition we find ourselves far off course, and off course in the slightest bit, is still the wrong direction. The Bible constantly uses the term of “remember”. God knows that our natural tendency is to forget so He goes so far as to command us to “REMEMBER” what He has done for us, who we were and who we are now.
So again, why do people succeed or fail? It all comes down to obedience to what we have been told to do. We are instructed in recovery and biblically to focus on the needs of others out of gratitude for what we have been so freely given. If we spend our days looking out for and magnifying the needs of others, then our selfish pride is minimized. But if we take that same magnification process and zoom in on ourselves, then we start to forget all that has been done for us and Self Obsession becomes the voice of reason that we listen to.
Deuteronomy 15:15 says, “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you…” We have been brought out of our bondage for a reason. This reason is not just for self but for the glorification of God and the redemption of those still behind us. By remembering where we came from we are able to fully focus on where we are instructed to go. In life we reap what we sow, or we get what we give. If we sow selfishness then we reap the harvest of pride, bitterness, loneliness, resentment, misery, discomfort, struggle, and anger. But, if we sow selflessly we will reap or get the harvest of gratitude, love, happiness, joy, peace, patience, wisdom, goodness, faithfulness, contentment and self control.
Remember, our very lives depend upon how we think of and serve the needs of those around us. A full service person is a full-of-service person.