Most of us enjoy treating ourselves when we accomplish a goal or make it through a particularly demanding week. A little self-indulgence as a reward can be nice.
We often frown at excessive self-indulgence though, whether that’s an extravagant home or a story about those who hoard. Even if, as some observe, our country produces most of the world’s resources, it should make us uncomfortable that our 5 percent of the world’s population consumes as much as a quarter of the world’s energy and an outsized share of paper, minerals, and other resources.
When COVID vaccines became available, richer countries bought up most of the supply for their own citizens. While they discarded millions of unused doses, poorer countries were still waiting to receive their first doses.
Last week I left work to hurriedly head home and meet an approaching writing deadline (the result of which you are currently reading). The path to my car took me past a sign for a blood drive being held that day. I didn’t believe I had the time it would take to make a donation, but I knew that there was a critical need for blood, so I turned aside from my plans.
After finishing my donation, the bag of my blood was placed next to my leg as my paperwork was being completed. I looked at it, somewhat ashamed that I had considered withholding something that could literally be a gift of life for someone else.
The lesson was clear: an action doesn’t have to be extreme to be self-indulgent. Being slaves to one another (v. 13) can also mean sacrificing my time, abilities, attention, plans, and patience. It may be for someone I encounter today; it may be for someone I’ll never meet.
What areas of your life would you consider self-indulgent?
God, please give me eyes to first see where my freedoms tempt me to become self-indulgent, and then to recognize if the message others see from me reflects negatively on you. Amen.