My wife and I were celebrating the first day of the new year eating breakfast in the local Cracker Barrel. The country music in the background seemed louder than usual, particularly, a song by Toby Keith. The words caught my attention. So much so, I went home and Googled the lyrics by Bobby Braddock.
We talk about your work how your boss is a jerk
We talk about your church and your head when it hurts
We talk about the troubles you’ve been having with your brother
About your daddy and your mother and your crazy ex-lover
We talk about your friends and the places that you’ve been…
You know talking about you makes me smile.
But every once in awhile, I want to talk about me
Want to talk about I, Want to talk about number one
Oh my me my, What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you, you, you, you usually, but occasionally
I want to talk about me. I want to talk about me.
At this point, I chuckled recalling occasions I’ve been trapped listening to someone ramble on and on in a non-stop monologue about their endless aches and pains, or their family squabbles. We all have. Can you hear yourself singing? “But every once in awhile, I want to talk about me, me, me?”
Hmmm! But, if you are honest with yourself, can you also recall a time when you’ve been the person subjecting someone else to your endless aches and pains and family squabbles? Odds are, someone else feels trapped listening to you thinking: “But every once in awhile, I want to talk about me, me, me.”
“Oh my, me my.” But isn’t this selfish? As a Christian shouldn’t we always show concern for others with no thought of ourselves? I want to talk about me sounds insensitive and downright unchristian!
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus was asked what was most important? He replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.”
In other words: Love God first, then, love your neighbor as you love yourself. God should always come first but then Jesus says to love our neighbor equally as much as we love ourselves. The key word, love others “as’ or ‘as much as’ which imply equality and balance in love for ourselves and love for neighbor.
We should listen with genuine concern to others joys and concerns, seeking to love as Christ would love but we too have joys and concerns and occasionally need someone to listen with genuine concern to us.
What about God? The Scripture clearly says to first, “Love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our souls and with all our mind.” How can we do that? It’s certainly okay to spend time talking to God about our aches and pains and family squabbles and our personal setbacks but shouldn’t we first spend time getting to know God better, listening for God’s direction, seeking God’s presence?
Toby Keith and his song, “I Want to Talk About Me” gave me something to chuckle over but I turned to another song to guide me as I pray about what kind of Christian I hope to be this new year:
- “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.” We are blessed with ties that bind our hearts together in Christian love.
- “Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers; our fears, our hope, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.” We have a God who cares passionately about us and listens to us.
- “We share each other’s woes, our mutual burdens bear; and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.” We share each other’s burdens and fears mutually listening to each other.
- “When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain; but we shall still be joined in heart and hope to meet again.” Even when separated, we are never truly alone. We are joined in heart and hope.
In the end, it’s not about you, you, you or me, me, me. It’s about the ties that bind our hearts together in Christian love. This year, may you strengthen those ties that bind you to God and with each other. Amen.