This sermon was written by and published for : Edan
The last sermon I wrote was 'Know when not to act', a discussion on what and why we might not act when perhaps we should. There is, however, a converse to this: action for our sake.
Whenever we have to make a decision whether to act our brain processes many thoughts at once, most unconsciously, to decide what to do.
It looks at the situation, it evaluates our position, and estimates the potential outcomes after weighing them against various pros and cons.
Much of this will happen in seconds.
Something about us likes to get in the way of this decision making process, and it is called the ego.
The ego wants to act because the resulting action will make it look good, or because it gets something out of it.
If we do not have a close enough look at our motivations for action we may not even realise that the ego is the one in the driving seat.
It requires, in addition to those few seconds our brain evaluates a situation for action, that we consciously take a second to check that it's not our ego talking for us.
Actions motivated by ego can still result in good outcomes; if you help injured person even for selfish gain, you've still helped an injured person.
But if you're being motivated by ego, the actions you take may be over and above what the situation requires, or in you may act when nothing is required at all.
All decisions are made on a balance and nobody can truly predict every potential outcome, someone may act well intentioned without ego and still make a mess of things.
But the ego is the selfish shadow in the mirror who looks exactly like us but really only thinks about itself.
Have you ever done something because you know you're good at it and someone new is watching? Or have you ever intervened because you think you know better?
When you make a decision about a situation on a balance, don't forget to factor yourself in too.