“Self has no claims upon us, for it has done nothing for us. It has been a wall of iron between us and Christ. Is that a reason that we should serve it? It has been a mountain of ice between us and the world to come. Is that a ground of claim over us?
No, brethren, self has done nothing to make us either live to it or die to it. It never can do anything; shall we then bow to it; shall we serve it; shall we do it homage?
We ask on the other hand—What has the Lord not done? What indissoluble, innumerable bonds are there between us and him, as the living, the dying, and the rising one.
The whole of our life is to be his, as his life was for us. Surely he has earned this, if he has earned anything at all. The least that we can give him is our life; the undivided service of our being, in every part; in our doing, in our speaking, in our planning, and in all our daily round of business, so that every part of our life shall be a witness-bearing for him.”
—Horatius Bonar, “Self or Christ; Which Is It?”
The above is, in my mind, one of the clearest statements of one of the most important truths the church needs to grab hold of in order to become what it is meant to be - Both corporately, in caring for one another and meeting diaconal needs, (which are incredibly important) and also individually, in marriages, in child rearing, friendships... the list goes on and on. If there is one word that ought to be able to be used to describe the Christian man or woman, it is the word "selfless."
Unfortunately, it is not only one of the most important concepts to realize, but it is also one of the hardest concepts (the hardest?) to actually manifest, and only by God's Spirit working in us.
May each of us pray hard for a more selfless spirit and truly desire to give up our "rights" for the sake of the others around us and the church. The Lord knows I need to pray as hard as anyone...