Selfishness at its root is wastefulness. Poor stewardship is the misuse of resources. Gluttony is a perfect example of selfishness. You are selfish if you consume more than you need while others don’t get what they really need.
The selfish person refuses to do what is helpful and right. He prioritizes his wants over another person’s needs. Selfishness overlaps with pride. A selfish person might throw away good food instead of giving it away to those in need. It’s deliberately spiteful or intent on seeing others suffer.
With such a bleak definition, you might be thinking, “I’m not that selfish.” And maybe you’re right. Instead, maybe you are self-neglectful. Would you starve yourself so another can eat? That doesn’t sound any better than letting others starve.
The selfish person can’t be thankful. Being thankful allows you to see the abundance of what you have. Take a moment to consider the excess you have. Most people have well beyond what they need to be happy. Yet, many people aren’t happy. What will it take for you to be happy?
Selfishness can also have a fearful root. True happiness is living with peace in any circumstance. It’s the ability to be content. It’s impossible (or nearly impossible) to be content and selfish at the same time. Paul wrote about contentment:
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.Philippians 4:11-13 NIV
Because of sin, it’s easy to be selfish. Because of sin, it’s also easy to give others exactly what they want (to avoid any uncomfortable conflict). But can you be generous and have healthy boundaries at the same time? You can because Self-care isn’t selfish. With God’s help, your motives for giving can be free of resentment, bitterness, or anything negative.
So I have decided to ask Titus and the others to spend some time with you before I arrive. This way they can arrange to collect the money you have promised. Then you will have the chance to give because you want to, and not because you feel forced to. Remember this saying, “A few seeds make a small harvest, but a lot of seeds make a big harvest.” Each of you must make up your own mind about how much to give. But don’t feel sorry that you must give and don’t feel that you are forced to give. God loves people who love to give.2 Corinthians 9:5-7 CEV
God wants you to be selfless. That means you work toward being a good steward of the resources God has given you. You know the difference between what you need and what you want. You derive your happiness from the abundance of what you already have. You share what you have to those who have need. You give to others only when your giving helps instead of creating further harm. You allow yourself to enjoy the life God has given you.
When you are focused on God and His kingdom, you can be happy and content whether you are in need or you have plenty.