My mind traveled back to a day before the Second World War when we were visiting in a home in the South. The son of the family was leaving the next day for the army and we had been invited in for the farewell.

“Would you like to see some of my pictures that I took on a recent trip through Canada?” the young man asked us. And as he projected the pictures on the silver screen, I watched in amazement, for in every picture the scenery was obscured by his own image standing prominently in front of some very beautiful view. There was himself blotting out a scene in the Canadian Rockies, himself obscuring a rural scene in Quebec. Himself so filling the picture that there was little else to be seen but self. Just filling all the pictures was himself and it was hard to find any scenery! And so it was in all his conversation: He sang a song of self, he talked a song of self. It was a sweet melody to his own ears, but it becomes very tiresome to others. Well, the pictures told a story that “self” had gone on this wonderful journey, and “self” was all he’d brought back! The wonders of it were lost to him because he saw only himself, and felt only himself, and cared for himself; but how different the story later on!

After the war we ran across this young life again as we visited the same territory. He had seen front line battle a number of times, and he had been severely wounded, his buddies had died by his side, and the chaplain he had loved so much had given his life in one sacrificial act of great courage. And out there one day in no man’s land, impaled on a barbed wire fence, “self” died, and was buried forever.

After a while we asked, “Did you bring back any pictures?”

“Just a few” he said, “Would you like to see them?” And in that handful of pictures there was not one picture of himself! Self indeed had been wiped from every scene. Now, although he was a sufferer, he was active in service for others, and “self” had lost itself completely in the great needs about him. Never once in our visit in that home did he mention his own need, did he ever talk of his pain, or of himself.

“Except a corn of wheat fall in the ground and die, it abides alone (John 12:24)”; this is why the “self life” is so stunted and impoverished. The one who lives so self-absorbed and enwrapped, and self-pitying, with the idea that the whole universe revolves around them, they live the loneliest of lives, they indeed abide alone.

(Daily Devotional App)


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