The Gift of Selflessness

A few days ago I told you about the books that I keep on my coffee table at Christmas. This morning I want to share with you the one that started the Christmas collection. The story was shared in the December issue of Arizona Highways magazine in 1973. It’s called The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. I have no idea how many times it has been printed and the cover has changed over the years but the message is the same.

The story in a nutshell – is a selfish giant walls his beautiful garden so that children can’t come in and play. As a result the garden remains in a state of winter all year round and the giant becomes grumpier with each passing of the months. Then one day in the corner of his garden he notices that the birds are singing and the trees are green…the children found a break in the wall and came in to play. The giant is so glad to see them that he runs out to welcome them.

All the children see the giant running in their direction and scurry out of the garden. All except one little boy who doesn’t see the giant coming because he his eyes were filled with tears. You see he was too small to climb up in the tree and it made him so sad. The giant lifted the little boy into the tree and the little boy rewarded him with a hug and kiss.

On that day, the giant broke down the wall and the children were welcomed in. The children came to play with the giant in the garden but the little boy whom the giant had loved was never seen again and no one really knew who he was or where he lived. Years passed, the seasons came and went and the giant became old and feeble and each day he looked for the little boy.

One winter’s morning, in the far corner of the garden the giant saw a tree covered in blossoms and beneath it stood the little boy, the giant could barely believe it eyes. He ran to the boy and as he got close to him the giant’s face filled with anger. He could see that in the boy’s hands and feet were the prints of nails. “Who wounded you, I will slay them he shouted.” But the child told him “No, these are wounds of love”. And then the child said “You let me play in your garden once and today you shall come with me to my garden, Paradise.”

The giant gave love freely to one small child and it changed his life forever. We are all like that giant at one point, walls were built to keep others out. What actually happens with those emotional walls is they imprison us. We decide not to be hurt or inconvenienced but we also keep ourselves from loving and being present in the lives around us.

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. 35 All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” John 13:34-35 ERV

The command Jesus gave us was one to love. It’s not a suggestion or even a good idea. It’s a command! And like any command given by a ranking officer the command has a purpose. In this case the purpose is so that “all” – A L L will know that we are his followers. God gets glory when we walk in love towards others. Jesus loves (present tense) unconditionally. He loves us on our good days and the bad. He loves us through our failures and in our successes. Plain and simple He loves us!

Today, we can share God’s love with someone and it will not only change their life but ours as well.