Always give thanks to God for the good in your life


Ozodi Osuji

     In the Sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:3-4).

    In the story of the Widow’s mite (Mark 12: 41-44), “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in substantial amounts. 42But a poor widow came and put in two exceedingly small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you; this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on.”

     Jesus was telling us about not boasting about our charitable deeds, we should not let our left hand know what our right hand did; he abhorred the Pharisees who upon giving gifts or doing good public works let everybody in the world know about it. People like telling us how much money they gave to the church.

    Lately, when my friends and I are talking over the phone, we mostly talk about our charitable deeds. One will tell us about all the people he had given money to that month, and I say what little deeds that I, too, did.

     Being me, I asked, why are we trying to outdo each other talking about our charitable deeds. Are we not supposed to be Christians who Jesus told not to let other people know about our charitable deeds? Are we Christians when we boast about the good, we do for other people?

    The ego likes to take credit for everything good it did; it likes to boast, I did this, I did that, I am great, I am powerful, I am wealthy, I am a socially important person. Look at me, am I not great, look at my big house, car, fancy clothes and all the people in my community that I help (as opposed to those who do not help other people).

     It is the nature of the ego to be narcissistic and talk about the charitable deeds it did; the ego takes credit for everything good in its world and denies responsibility for the bad it did.

     Indeed, if things are not going well for the ego, it will blame other people, it sees other people as responsible for its woes. It is not my fault that I failed, that I am poor, and so on; it is always other people who made him fail, poor or did not get that job etc.

     But when the ego succeeds it takes total responsibility for it and ignores that other people helped him succeed. He is quick to take credit and quick to blame others for his mistakes.

      The absurdity of the ego’s behavior is rooted in its desire for power; the ego is quest for personal power; the ego wants to be the one who created itself, created other people and created the world (and created God).

     The ego exists because of our quest for personal power and denial of God’s power in our lives. But if you think about it, you realize that the whole has power over the part. If the wind is blowing you may not even be able to lift your arm or walk around. The environment enables you to do whatever you do.

     The whole self is what folks call God, without the support of the whole self, God, the part can do nothing. Without the power of God in one, one has no power and cannot do anything.

     In John 5:19 19Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

    The son of God does everything he does with the power of God in him but by himself he has no power and cannot do anything.

     Jesus extolled living as the Christ. The Christ self is that self that knows that he is the son of God and that without his father’s power he is powerless; all power derives from God’s power (from the whole universe). The Christ self therefore is always grateful to God for whatever good comes his way. He realistically tells you that all power belongs to God not to him.

     A truly mature human being is humble because he knows that without God, the whole he can do nothing, therefore, he does not make wild claims about his public good.

     Human narcissism is rooted in our efforts to seem powerful when, in fact, we are not. All credits should belong to the whole self, to God not to one.

     It makes for good mental health to realize that God oversees one’s life, and that by one’s self one can do nothing. Believe in this and your arrogance goes away.

    Sadly, our arrogance is seldom totally overcome, because on earth we live as separated selves, egos and therefore the ego always rears its ugly, arrogant head.

     When the ego prompts one to take personal credit for the good in one’s life, one must quickly remind the ego that one is not in charge of one’s life and that God, the whole is.

     It is a constant battle to stay grounded in the truth of our reality, the reality that our power and source derives from God not from us. So, when my friends begin talking about their charitable deeds and I am tempted to participate in that vanity, glorifying the ego, I keep quiet.

    Keep quiet rather than boast about the good that your ego says to make it seem powerful; the ego is powerless, only God is powerful. The Christ self is the son of God who realizes that whatever power he has is derived from God and gives thanks to God for it and does not take childish credit for it because by himself he knows that he has no power.

     One must thank God for every good that comes to one, including thanking him for the meal one is about to eat (saying grace before eating a meal is critical to make folks humble).

Ozodi Osuji

June 13, 2022

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