It is late at night, well, actually very early in the morning being it is almost 6 a.m. here in Kansas.  It is nights like this, in which sleep evades me, I now have something to express and ultimately blog about.  Being in Florida this past week was hot and humid.   My children and I  greatly appreciated the cool air-conditioned room after not having a/c for two weeks in the heatwave the last time I had blogged.  This was Orlando, Florida, where we were guests of my parents, who are members of the the Gideon International Convention. Noah, 16 and  Abaigael, 18, had their own age groups, my parents had their sessions and I took a few days to have to myself to swim and regroup.  The kids had daily activities to Disney World, but on Friday we had a great time taking them for their time to Cocoa beach.  And of course we all missed a spot somewhere on us and burned.

If you are not familiar with the Gideons, here is a website for you to discover who they are.  I thought I understood what they were  due to the fact my parents have been members since 1994.  But attending a few of the sessions and listening to the speakers, it gave me a greater respect and awe for them.  Selfless.  Sacrifice. Determination.  They give of their own resources to make sure the Word of God gets into the hands of people.  We see the Bibles in the hotels, the doctors offices, Gideons standing outside of the schools to give Bibles to children who can read, and even myself at my nurse’s capping ceremony. Do we really know or think about what they actually do?  I didn’t. There were 97 or 98 countries represented, some were countries which had little funds, while other Gideons gave out of their hearts to have them attend for the week. These people are lay people, not pastors, missionaries or chaplains.    If you think it is just a religious week seminar, it is so much more than this.   This was so enlightening, and tugging at my heart making me consider, am I selfish or  selfless?  Although many of the speakers are not Gideons, they were people who were touched by the small act of being handed a testament  or someone passed  one along to them.  Although not always in an instant, some were years in the making before they read the New Testament or re-read it again. But when a decision was made the act was life changing.

I was pondering my actions from this past week and this first full day of being home.

What is selfish?  Well, according to the dictionary it is an adjective to where one is devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, not regarding of others or concern or care only for oneself; selfish motives.   Self seeking, stingy were good synonyms.

So what is selfless?  Selfless:  Adjective: Concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own; unselfish.  Can a stingy, selfish person be a happy person?  I don’t think I have ever seen one.

I was fussing to myself today about the house air conditioner set at 78.   It is too hot for me and for the children.  We had a tug of war on the thermostat where I would sneak in and turn it down to 76  or daringly 75.   I kept thinking, actually fuming at times,  it is selfish of me to want it down or it is selfish of him to keep it up?  Obviously men don’t understand menopausal women and hot-blooded children.   I don’t tolerate heat, so if I don’t feel well, I can’t function and complete my duties as well.  So the fans at this time are in full blast, and thus another reason for my being up.  I am too hot even with the freezer rice bag around my neck and head.  There are many more who have no a/c and are in hot climate I keep telling myself.  But my mind is in a whirl back and forth.  The restlessness, is it because my children are too warm and cannot sleep deeply or have I given into selfishness in attitude and passed it onto them?  My flesh cries for revenge but I know this would not be a wisest decision but to come up with a creative alternative. Hmmmmm……..  As Mrs. BIlly Graham once stated, ” Murder yes, divorce not an option”.  Is there such a thing as heat insanity?  LOL

Recalling this past week makes me feel very selfish and guilty of my thoughts at this time.  I am mulling over the Gideon men and women from foreign lands with all they have had to endure. They have given of themselves, in the heat, in poverty, and selflessly gave their time, money, and sometimes their health and endured physical hardship to give a Bible.  What about me?  Am I going out of my way in my time, energy and resources to help others?  It may be with giving money to missions, the Red Cross, Food Bank, for Bible’s or it may be the little thought of bringing a meal, showing up at someone’s house to help out, or setting aside my choice for another’s choice.   It could even be to say hello and talk to a stranger especially if they look sad or dejected, even if it might be awkward or I balk at wanting to do it at all.  How do I know that a smile, a recognition or a spoken word may make the difference in someone’s life? Although sometimes we do have to be selfish to be selfless.  We can work so doggedly that we become ill and are useless to everyone and anyone, but Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”  Esteeming others above me will create joy, maybe not happiness, for that is just surface and fleeting,  but deep joy.  JOY:  Jesus, Others, Yourself.

I shouldn’t lose sight of that goal, even if it is over the temperature of the air conditioner.  When I get all wrapped in pity, self starts to rear its head. Love, gentleness and patience get left in the dust of bitterness and self centeredness.  Anger isn’t far behind in the horse race and the whole house is in an uproar with the roots of bitterness sneaking out to take a strangle hold on my family unless I axe it in its beginning phase.  Keep my focus on what is important and what counts for eternity, not this moment. As a man called Bill Gothard once stated, “Don’t put on the altar of the temporary, that which may be permanent”.    Cooler days will eventually come, but my time needs to be on life, on my family and others and cannot be wasted on selfishness.  I gladly focus on the fact we have electricity for all the fans to be on high…… as well as more iced tea on hand! (Decaf this time of night)  So think to yourself:  Are you being Selfish or Selfless?

Philippians 2 34