Posted by Ronan Scully in Features.

In the world, human fulfilment is measured by material things, so that the person who has nothing is nothing—Laurens Van der Post

People are often so preoccupied with their own concerns, they fail to hear or recognise the cries for help of the person who has nothing and is called nothing.

In our society today, people are considered important, depending on their usefulness, their social status or their authority. Their power comes from their political clout, their bank account or their ability to make themselves heard and heeded.

The Kingdom of God makes little sense against this background, for the Kingdom of God has different values. Values that are radically opposed to a world where material values are worshipped and where the unimportant are expendable!

Most of us take our lives and ourselves too seriously at times. We measure our worth by what we achieve and how successful we are in life. We tend to justify our existence by the type of people we become. People like this usually have a warped image of God, where they see him as some sort of slave-master or taskmaster and where the important things in life is to be useful and successful, hence the worshipping of material values and the expendability of the unimportant.

The ambitious office worker

Once there was an office worker who had a well paid job with a thriving company. He lived with his wife and two young children in a fine house in a good neighbourhood. However, he wasn’t satisfied. He was young and full of energy. Anything seemed possible. He was also full of ambition. So he said to himself, “I can do better than this. I’ll just have to work harder.”

He applied for overtime, of which there was no shortage. He doubled his salary. He moved to a larger house in a more fashionable part of town. He gave his old car to his wife and bought a sports car for himself. Even though he was doing splendidly, he was still not happy or satisfied. He had his eyes on a dream house but didn’t yet have the money to buy it. But a few more years of overtime and he would.

He never did get to own that dream house, for he was struck down by a terminal illness. Suddenly he found himself at death’s door. Then to his horror, he discovered that he hardly knew his children or his wife for that matter. Worse, he realised he hadn’t really lived up to now. He had been postponing life until the day when all his goals would be achieved. In the eyes of his fellow workers and of his neighbours, he was a great success. But in his own eyes he knew he had failed. He had missed out on all the important things in life. He felt empty, spiritually and emotionally. He was not the happiest state to be in now that his earthly voyage was rapidly coming to an end. He wished he could start all over again. How differently he would do things.

Thought for the Week

As your thought for the week, ask yourself if you are sef centred or other centred? We need to make a shift from self-centeredness or other-centeredness.