Thomas Howard wrote a book called Splendor in the Ordinary and in that book he makes a reference to George McDonald, another 19th Century writer who said, “The one principal of hell is I am my own.”  With that quote as his basis, Tom Howard said there are
basically two ways to live: you can live on the basis of "my life for yours" or you can live on the basis of  "I am my own, my life for me."  Every day you have hundreds of opportunities to operate on the basis of one of those two principles. 
  Howard continued by stating "For example, no child has ever received life except through the laying down of the mother’s life for months in bearing and nourishing him. And somebody has to lay down his or her life for the child year after year after year in caring for and training for and providing for him.”  Those of us who are parents know this because we give up much of our lives for our kids: our time, convenience, and certainly our money. 
  Howard further explains that “this laying down of life always entails a death.” It is a death in effect to my time when I give it over to help you get something done. It is death to
my privilege if I let someone else in need cut in line in front of me at HEB. Theologian Tim Keller explains it this way, "The 'my life for yours' principle is the only one in which any true life is possible. To embrace it is to live. To refuse it, or to live my life for me, is to die spiritually. There it is; heaven or hell lurking in your living room."
  When you forgive, volunteer your precious time, belong to a team and don’t insist on your way, these are little deaths, and yet they are deaths that lead to life. Death to your individual needs leads to a resurrection of community because as Howard points out, when somebody dies to their time or privilege to do something for you and you say thank you, community is created.
  Why? Howard says, "Thank you means I owe you and I acknowledge it gratefully. In heaven, such acknowledgements are forms of joy. In hell, no  indebtedness is acknowledged at all."  When you say thank you, there is a bond and you have just lost some of your independence. You owe another person to some degree and so there are obligations of community now.  If every day in little ways you put someone else's needs above yours and they say thank you, you are slowly but surely becoming a community with that person. 
  My prayer is that each of us every day strives to live by the principle "my life for yours."  Look for opportunities to give up your time, your privilege, your money to help someone else.  Build community with others by giving your life for theirs and reap the enormous blessings of life in the Spirit and in that community.
Pastor Boyd

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