Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how individualistic our society has become. Basically, “individualism” is a way of thinking. It’s living like your own immediate needs and wants are more important than the needs of the wider community.
It’s a Me-Myself-and-I way of life.
I’m not saying your own needs aren’t important. But they’re not MORE important than the needs of the wider community.
Consider a contrast. The Amish call it uffgevva. Loosely translated it means that you are less important than others. In a book about the Amish, Serena Miller and Paul Stutzman describe how this concept is passed on to new generations:
“Amish children are taught from an early age… that their needs and wants are important, but not more important than those of family, the church, and the community. It is the exact opposite of individualism… It involves a surrendering of the will rather than emphasizing the importance of the person over the group.”
If you think that sounds harsh maybe that’s because you’ve been thoroughly soaked and saturated with the prevailing illness of our society known as Individualism.
But what the Amish teach their children is biblical. Here’s what Paul says in Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
Today, as you make decisions and set priorities, and as you go about your school, work and conversations, remember that your needs are important—but they’re not MORE important than the needs of the wider community.
Let’s call it uffgevva.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
By Matthew Ruttan