“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” — Philippians 2:3-4
In 2003, with the Cleveland Cavaliers leading the Utah Jazz, 120-95, and two seconds left in the game, Cleveland’s Ricky Davis took an inbound pass in the backcourt and shot at the other team’s basket. He missed on purpose, trying to manufacture the last rebound he needed for a triple-double. The Jazz players and coaches were angry and the Cavaliers team and fans were embarrassed.
The Bible warns about egotistical behavior in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” The wisdom of Proverbs 25:27 (ESV) teaches, “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.”
Selfishness comes from a Greek word that is sometimes translated “strife,” because selfishness often leads to conflict. When you behave in selfish ways, you jeopardize the harmony of your whole team.
It’s interesting that the opening verses of Philippians 2 are a plea for unity. “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind” (Philippians 2:1-2).
Unity can’t be accomplished where selfish attitudes are present.
— Jerry Birch, Cleveland Cavaliers chaplain
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