Monday, November 23, 2009


I received a phone call, the man's voice on the other end asking for a donation to his charitable foundation. I very politely said, “I don't think we're going to give this year, but…” The voice replied, “Thank you anyway, ma'am. We never want to argue or press after someone says 'no.'” And then, before I could tell him to keep us on the list for next year, I heard Click. Well! I started to get my pajamas all in a bunch because this telemarketer hung up on ME – but I paused at a sobering thought. Maybe it wasn't about me at all. Maybe he'd been hearing Click all morning, and I was his first opportunity to win the hang-up race. You see, all too often I forget it's not all about me. I usually think the slow car in front of me is just driving like that to make ME late for MY appointment. Or the grocery line purposely has a price check or spill just to annoy ME. Perhaps you're on the other side of the battle, and you have friends or family members that seem to think the world revolves around THEM. Each time you're together, all they talk about are THEIR issues, THEIR problems, THEIR joys and sorrows. I think the woman in the picture illustrates pretty well what so many people do with their own words - love themselves. Only a few country music songs capture my heart, but Toby Keith's, “I Wanna Talk About Me,” is one of my favorites. Here's the chorus:
I wanna talk about me
Wanna talk about I
Wanna talk about number one
Oh my, me, my,
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you, you, you, you, usually;
but occasionally I wanna talk about meeeeee!
I wonder if Abraham would have sung Toby Keith‟s song to his wife Sarah? This woman seems pretty egocentric, but I suppose a woman experiencing her first pregnancy at ninety years old deserves a little attention…

Gen. 21:1-5 – “Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.” (emphasis added)
  • Notice that the author of Genesis uniquely worded the realization of God's promise. First, came God's gracious fulfillment to Sarah, and then to Abraham. Imagine the significance of crediting Sarah before Abraham in a culture that most women were esteemed barely more than slaves or livestock. Yet God gives her significance in spite of culture – because God was GRACIOUS, not because Sarah deserved it.
Gen. 21:6-7 – “Sarah said, 'God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.' And she added, 'Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.'”
  • Sarah should have stopped talking after that first sentence because when “she added,” then she subtracted. In claiming that SHE bore Abraham a child when HE was old, Sarah stole a little of her husband's dignity and a portion of God's glory. She began well by praising God but ended poorly by drawing attention to herself.
Gen. 21:8-10 – “The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, 'Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.'” (emphasis added)
  • You'll find Sarah's picture in your local post office as one of the ten most-wanted party killers. Yikes! A life continually focused inward tends to randomly strike out at others. Contentious Sarai still lurked beneath God's gracious re-formation of princess Sarah, and the sin of unforgiveness was feeding her self-centered life.
Lord, living in a self-focused world is fertile ground for sin to grow into ugly weeds that choke out any attempt to serve others and praise You. I too often joke about my self-centeredness, but I need to take serious steps toward an outward-focused life. Let my heart be softened toward others, living a life of grace and humility.

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