Selfishness turned into Selflessness
It is that time of year when we get super busy serving others. Homeless care kits, family food boxes, holiday food boxes. Emergency services. The Holidays are always the hardest for most people not to mention the weather is brutal.
A friend recommended the Netflix original, Klaus. As my family and I sat down to watch this Christmas movie, I was a bit surprised at how dark and depressing the first 35-45 minutes were. The story begins with the privileged and well-off son (Jesper) of a man who is in charge of all postmen. Jesper has lived a life of excess with no worries whatsoever, and his father is fed up with his lack of determination and effort to be somebody. He ships Jesper off to the farthest north post office, which is known for destroying every postman sent there.
As Jesper lands in Smeerensburg, he is immediately confronted with two circumstances: The town is a divided people who have been at war for decades, and there is a heavy grayness that never lifts. His father had given him a mission to mail a certain number of letters before he can come back home to his life of luxury.
Missing the comforts of home, Jesper begins his mission selfishly, only to be faced with setback after setback. One day, a small boy gives Jesper a letter to mail, and in a providential change of events, Jesper meets Klaus. Klaus is a depressed old man who lives alone in the grayness with a house full of toys. Klaus and Jesper end up delivering a toy to the kid who gave Jesper the letter, and the unfamiliar joy that lights up the kid’s face bursts forth into the streets.
Before long, letters are flying in from all the kids in Smeerensburg. Klaus and Jesper build a friendship around the giving of their time and gifts to bring more joy to the town. Jesper finds it is more blessed to give than to receive and becomes the man his father wanted him to be. He meets his goal and is able to leave Smeerensburg, but watching the joy spread throughout the town and witnessing the gray subside and color come flooding in causes Jesper to stay.
There are many more elements to the movie, but these are the ones that hit home for most viewers. What is it about seeing selfishness turn in to selflessness that is so appealing? What is it about seeing the grey turn to color that ignites hope in us all? What is it about a man leaving the comforts of his own home to stay in a town for the good of others that causes us all to want to imitate this? The answer to all these questions is the gospel.
These stories make our hearts skip a beat, because we were meant to find our place in the story of the all-glorious King who left the comforts of heaven to descend into the gray world full of sin and darkness. It’s the story of the one who was worthy of worship but set it aside to die for others (Phil. 2:6-11). It’s the story of the one who rose from the dead as the first fruits (1 Cor. 15:20-26), promising that many would rise as he did.
King Jesus came down to earth and brought light into the darkness of this world, and he did it as the first step in his eternal plan to renew his people and set them free into the world to be those whom he uses to light the dark. As N.T Wright states,
Believing in Jesus’ resurrection is not a mere affirmation of a creedal proposition. It is self-involving. It means trusting in God, in this God, who raises the dead, who calls for a commitment to discipleship and to the worldwide mission that the resurrection has launched. Resurrection faith calls people to new tasks embodying Jesus’ kingdom-praxis, belonging to the renewed covenant-family, and proclaiming Jesus as lord and saviour.”
One of the natural fruits and results of loving and knowing God is loving our neighbor. What would it look like to be so moved by the great news of the gospel this Christmas season that we begin to add a little bright color to the dark grayness of our neighbors’ lives? Maybe it’s something as simple as inviting them over for coffee. Maybe it’s something as simple as cleaning up their yard. Maybe in these little acts of bringing light to their lives, our great God will intervene and set them free from sin, death, and Satan, all while giving them their own marching orders to take shining light into this dark world. Merry Christmas! To sum it all up, it doesn’t matter how you give as long as you turn your focus on serving others. Bloom right where you are planted. You don’t have to go out and serve hundreds of people like our organization, but you can serve your neighbor. Be a light for someone going through a dark time. Let others know they are important and that you care. Help point them to the one who is the ultimate giver, the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Be love and light in action. Go light your corner of the world wherever you may be.