I’m a member of the “Me” generation. Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, I heard a lot about the importance of self-realization and doing your own thing. I wore mini-skirts and flowered shirts, watched “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” When I was in college, all my girlfriends focused on finding careers, not husbands; if you yearned for less than having it all – a family and a career – you were considered a dinosaur, obsolete, and terribly naïve.
Contemporary culture was all about making yourself the most important person in your world.
It was also totally NOT what my Christian faith taught. I grew up on the Golden Rule, the Lord’s Prayer and the admonishment to always put others first. “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves,” instructs Philippians 2:3. For me, the high school student striving to be class valedictorian, that piece of Scripture held no allure; as I recall, I was more likely to follow the advice of Thumper’s mother in the Disney movie Bambi: If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.
As a result, I was a very quiet high school student when it came to discussing my classmates.
Fortunately, maturity applies not only to age, but to faith as well. Marriage and motherhood obliterated any drives I’d had to compete with others as the instinct to care for my family took precedence. I didn’t think twice about putting my children or husband first – that was just the way it was, and no matter how trying or exhausting it seemed at times, I have never regretted it. In the eyes of some of my college companions, I sacrificed a career to stay home with my kids, but I took comfort from Hebrews 13:16, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
They have pleased me, too, and God continues to let me reap the fruit of putting others first. In fact, I’m reaping that fruit in a whole new way this year – I’m finding that when I put others first in my writing career, great things happen. As a memorial to my parents, I offer author programs to senior communities, who welcome me with open arms and lively discussions. As a service to fellow authors, I’ve started to organize group booksignings, which are eagerly scheduled by harried bookstore managers. I frequently donate books or talks to charities, which raise needed funds for them and expand audiences for me. I ask myself what other writers might need from me in the way of guest posts or book reviews to accomplish their own objectives.
“Honor one another above yourselves,” Paul writes in Romans 12:10. Like so many Scripture passages, these are words to live – and work – by.
(Tomorrow, Jan explores how putting others first is also a key approach to the writing craft.)
10 Replies to “Honor One Another”
Thank you for all you do for other writers and seniors. May it come back tenfold to you!
Thank you, Mary! Hope you find blessings in your day!
Putting others first, serving others, can be hard at times. But I’ve learned it’s among the most rewarding things we can do. God recognizes our servant’s hearts, our striving to follow the teaching and example of Jesus–be a servant to others. Not for our own glory, but for his. Thank you, Jan, for this awesome reminder.
My pleasure, Henry. I keep reminding myself I’m still a work in progress when I fail to put others first, because as you said, sometimes it can be very hard. I think when I make it a priority in every part of my life, it gets easier to remember to do it.
Worthy sentiments, and serious. On the lighter side, Me-Time Tales was written with this in mind. Self-recognition and irony. Each character is self-obsessed in some way. Humour, of course, is based on truth.
Thanks for stopping by, Rosalind!
Jan, what a lovely essay you have written for this first Sunday in May. It is with pleasure that I look forward to more of your words tomorrow.
I’m glad they resonated with you, Barbara. That’s when I know I’ve done my job.
I love this on so many levels. I’m a senior. I’ve just finished writing my first cozy mystery (with the long road to publishing stretching out before me), and although I’m older than you (67) I, too, am part of that me generation, and I chose to put family first. I’ve been a homemaker all my life. This is my first attempt to realize the dream that’s lain dormant for many, many years.
I admire what you’re doing – your servant heart. I’m sure you’re a blessing to many.
I’m proud of you for pursuing that dream! Best wishes for success in your newest path!
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