A non Christian asked me unabashedly about Christianity in this way: “What’s in it for me?” In effect he said, how will my world get materially better? Or from a cost benefit analysis, exactly what benefits can I expect? Or how much am I going to lose because it may not be worth it.
Considering the state of our world where selfishness ruthlessly competes for star billing and where the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are relegated to minor roles, his question was reasonable. Doesn’t society teach us that to understand someone we must first discern their agenda? Their self-interest? In the business world, that certainly was an objective of mine when negotiating with someone. And such a mindset is practical, astute, responsible and unfortunately, light years from altruism, the unselfish regard for the welfare of others.
Can you therefore fault someone who’s looking out for himself? His life’s journey might be scarred by countless examples of people putting his interests last. Nonetheless, what we all have to be mindful of is the cynicism that may result from always getting the short straw, (“You can’t be serious. Again!?”), or even occasionally getting a raw deal.
Life isn’t fair! The decision to pivot to the dark side and always subordinate the interests of others to our desires is a devastatingly bad move.
Self interest unchecked is a diabolical false god that turns people away from a relationship with the Holy Trinity. One’s focus becomes inward and away from the Source of all that is. Selfishness, greed, egocentrism and superficiality become the bastard children of this romance with self.
So, the question. “What’s in it for me?”
I wrote a fable titled The Mountaintop – Suffering, Seeking and Finding God. My experience inspired it. And I believe it encapsulates the essence of a Christian life and the rewards for following Christ. It’s my latest contribution to Catholic Stand. It’s here. For those of you who may have been reading my blog in October of last year, you may recognize it. However, I wanted to share it with new readers.