Vested interest…… it denotes having ownership rights. It means you have a special concern or even a stake in something. It leans to “I’m trying to maintain this thang!” or “I need to influence this thang”…… cause it’s mine! It’s my deal. It’s MY thang!
For gain or loss….. I got a dog in this race!
We’ll never work harder, try harder, pray more, or care more than when it’s within the realm of MY VESTED INTEREST!
These are MY kids. MY husband. MY health. THEIR health. This is MY future. Their future. This is MY vacation. MY job. MY house. MY money. MY desires. MY dreams. …..and the list goes on and on.
And interestingly enough, we default to this. It isn’t a honed skill! It all comes quite naturally and starts quite young. But that said, what can really kick it into gear is “people”! Heaven forbid….. there are actually other people on this planet and what if they try to get their grubby little hands into that place I call “MY world”!
Our little 4 year old grandson Walker has 2 older brothers so he has never known anything but this “other people encroachment”. And thus….. at Christmas when they were loading up the mini-van to head back to North Carolina, Walker determined it was in his best interest to just HOLD all his Christmas worldly wealth…. all bagged up nice and neat! Just look at the expression on his face as he grabs the hand of that one who would even entertain the notion of taking his stuff off of his lap! He had a vested interest…. ownership rights!
Probably one of the more challenging aspects of parenting is the attempt to teach your child that they aren’t the center of the universe! I can still remember my own parenting mantra….. “The world does not revolve around you, young lady!” Albeit, in her defense it’s no wonder that she thought it did. She was, after all, MY child! And thus she lived within the realm of receiving preference…… she had been favored from the get-go! She was MINE, after all!
Isn’t it fascinating how we create these little situations for ourselves! And it’s all well and good, until we’re on a playground somewhere and our little princess won’t share with the other little girls who want to maybe try on her tiara and suddenly….. we see our child’s behavior through a different lens! We see it through the lens of “what will that other mother think? Will she think I’m a pathetic mother? I gotta stop this freight train!” And isn’t this just the “adult version” of that “other people encroachment”? Said other mother and what she thinks is encroaching into “MY world”!! Bummer!
Well, all that’s the problem. But the question belies…. what’s the fix? Because most assuredly there needs to be a “fix”! This self-orientation that I’m calling “vested interest” is not only quite unattractive on the playground, but it’s also quite lethal to God’s plan!
Warren Wiersbe has said that we all live either at Philippians 1:21 or 2:21! We all have an address…..
Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 2:21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
We’re either seeking Christ, living unto Him, loving Him, enjoying Him, delighting in Him, following Him, wanting what He wants for us, thinking like He thinks, trusting His sovereign call,
We’re serving self, living unto self, desiring self, enjoying and delighting in self…and all the stuff self loves!
The choices are basically those two….. self-domain or surrendered to Christ. Albeit, we keen multi-taskers can actually get pretty skilled at somewhat living both. Or so we think. But in reality, if “self” dominates on any level, then Christ has been set aside… replaced by the idol of self (or self’s stuff, i.e. the grocery list of paragraph 4… MY kids. MY husband. MY health. THEIR health. MY future. Their future. MY vacation. MY job. MY house. MY money. MY desires. MY dreams. etc. etc.)
So we all know what self-domain looks like….. it looks like tiaras and ME/ME/ME… always preferring me and mine to you and yours! And while we don’t necessarily think that’s unattractive in “ourselves”, we know only too well how unattractive that is in somebody else! It’s time for us to realize we ARE that somebody else!
I love the truths Paul spoke to the church at Philippi, as he cautioned them about their rivalries and conceit, while holding up the beauty that is “humility”….. case in point, the humility of Christ who left the grandeur of Heaven to take the form of a servant, obedient unto death, that we might bow at His feet and confess Him as Lord of our lives!
Philippians 2:3-11 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Did you catch that line about “looking not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others”? This says to me that YES… we do have a God-given responsibility to look after our own interests….. ourselves, our family, our house, our health, our work, our finances, etc. Integrity and commitment to excellence matter. Discipline and dependability count for something! But we need to ALSO be caring about the interests of others…. caring in a loving way, not comparing (with the conceited view that we’re rivals), but caring about people, loving them, helping them in their own journey, encouraging them in their struggles, celebrating with them in their joys.
Such is a life, lived in Christ! Address: Philippians 1:21!
I want that life. Tiaras are trouble! They slip, they dip, they fall. And well they SHOULD!