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Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #122 --- Selfishness

Updated on September 30, 2015

Quotations on Selfishness (Set No. 3)

The best way to overcome selfishness is to learn to live for others; not only live and let live, but live and help live. The doctrine of the survival of the fittest is, “I am stronger than you; therefore I will compel you to help me.” If we have an ideal society the doctrine will be, “I am stronger than you; therefore I will help you.”

---Myron Wade, The Acorn, Ogden, Utah, January 1908.

Selfishness is a hard master. It promises a man everything and gives nothing. It flatters, cajoles, puffs up. It says to a man, “Get while the getting is good.” It says, “If you don’t look after your own interests no one else will.” But when selfishness has done its very best, it brings only sorrow, disappointment, ill-will of others, remorse. It closes the channels of a man’s life to the finer and better things.

---Walter C. Davis, Rogersville Review, Rogersville, Tenn., Nov. 15, 1956.

All inward unhappiness can be definitely traced to selfishness; no unselfish person can be thoroughly unhappy.

---Frank Crane, Clinton Advertiser, Clinton, N.Y., Feb. 15, 1908.

All inward unhappiness can be definitely traced to selfishness; no unselfish person can be thoroughly unhappy. The selfish man is pitted against a selfish world, infinitely stronger than he, and against which he has no hope of success. When a selfish man succeeds in becoming happy, it is only at the price of the unhappiness of others. Life is too short and the prizes of selfishness too close and too alluring; you cannot hope to attain nobility without belief in heaven and God.

---Frank Crane, Putnam Country Courier, Carmel, N.Y., Feb. 14, 1908.

The narrow soul lives in a prison of its own building.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., June 2, 1936.

The mind of a selfish man is like the Dead Sea.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., June 3, 1938.

A self-centered person tends to become a center of disturbance.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., May 6, 1960.

Self-importance usually is marked by an unusual disposition to irritability.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., May 19, 1960.

Preoccupation with self is the least profitable—and the most hazardous—of all occupations.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Dec. 12, 1960.

It is as selfish to fondle grief as to hug pleasure.

---William Jennings Bryan, New-State Tribune, Oklahoma City, Okla., March 23, 1911.

The man who talks much about himself will always have a tired audience.

---Elijah Powell Brown, The Indian Chieftain, Vinita, Okla., April 20, 1893.

The man who lives only for himself is engaged in very small business.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Taylor Country News, Abilene, Texas, March 16, 1894.

The philosophy of living is in keeping busy, but the man who lives only to himself is apt to shrivel in the process, because the ever-narrowing circle of his own desires finally hedges him in; while he who lives for others continually broadens the scale of his activity and enlarges the boundaries of his exertions.

---Frank Hilton Greer, Oklahoma State Capital, Guthrie, Okla., Jan. 15, 1911.

Many people are completely wrapped up in themselves, like a ball of twine.

---T.G. Pasco, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Jan. 24, 1900.

Selfishness is the worm that eats the divine life out of the heart of man. Selfishness is the giant that battles with Christ for the souls of men.

---C.S. Sargent, Houston Daily Post, Houston, Texas, Jan. 26, 1896.

The more a man is wrapped up in himself the colder he is.

---L.E. Tupper, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Aug. 24, 1905.

Selfishness, when it becomes full grown, is death.

---Carl J.G. Brown, Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kan., Feb. 16, 1922.

An intensely selfish man can never be a good citizen, but he who looks not upon that which is his own, but upon the things of another, a neighborly disposition which makes him a brother to every man, a father to every orphan, a husband to every widow, a good neighbor who always picks up the wounded man by the wayside and carries him to the inn and foots the whole bill from start to finish.

---Sam P. Jones, Houston Daily Post, Houston, Texas, Sept. 27, 1896.

The best way to break up the depression of a melancholy mood is to get busy with something. What one does is not nearly so important as that one start energetically to do something. We become melancholy because our thoughts turn in. It has its origin in a fixation of interests within the circle of self. It comes from too much brooding over one’s failures, or over the barrenness of a life out of which stirring purpose seems to have gone. The psychologists attribute despondent states of mind chiefly to what they call introversion, which is a fancy name for self-centeredness. The way to break this is with resolute action, buoyed with religious faith. Stop living in the past. Stop worrying about the future. Stop depending upon yourself and depend upon God. Get out of the morass into which you have gradually wandered as your mind has been fixed on your own problems. Wholesome activity and quiet faith are the best medicines for such unhealthy habits.

---Earl L. Douglass, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Jan. 31, 1940.

Selfishness always defeats itself. Things are so constituted in this world that we cannot hoard the best things for ourselves. If we do, we lose them. The best qualities evaporate from money when we try to hoard it in a miserly way. We must pass it along, make it do something useful, make it help somebody before we can get the best out of it. As long as we are selfish with it, it strangles growth, and deteriorates character. We are smaller and meaner for the holding.

People who try to keep, for themselves, all the good things of life; their sympathies, their helpfulness, their encouragement, their services, their best things, lose them.

We are so constructed that we cannot hoard our good things without harm to ourselves and loss to others. They must be passed along the first opportunity, or they will be lost to ourselves as well as to others.

We are so constituted that we cannot enrich ourselves so much by direct self-giving as by giving to others. It is the reflex action from our giving that enriches us. If we hoard and hold our good it evaporates. The only way to make it ours permanently is to help others first.

It seems to be a law of life that we lose what we are stingy of and try to retain; but whatever we give we retain. By some strange alchemy it becomes our own. What we give away and give royally, magnanimously, with a helpful spirit becomes ours.

There is nothing so hollow, so disappointing, as a selfish, greedy life. It does not matter how much money a man has, if he does not care for his fellow men, if he has a stony heart, if his affections are marbleized, he does not arouse any admiration, or love; he enjoys no real happiness.

---Orison Swett Marden, Success Magazine, New York, N.Y., December 1906.

What are we doing when we have nothing to do? It has been truthfully said that a man may be judged by what he thinks when he has nothing to do but follow his own inclinations. When our daily work is done and we have time to do with it as we choose, what do we choose to do? What part of our nature do we desire to cultivate?

Our desires appeal either to our physical or spiritual natures. Do we choose to waste our time with worthless frivolity, something that will give us no development at all, but rather tend to weaken our faculties and create bad inclinations, or do we use it economically—doing those things that will stimulate our higher natures?

The man who spends his leisure in gratifying his physical appetite—who thinks of nothing but pleasure, becomes narrow-minded, selfish and depraved. He loves wealth and power, not for the good he will be able to do for others, but merely that he may more fully gratify his own desires. Such men are enemies themselves and a menace to the community in which they live.

A broad-minded man will devote his time to the development of his intellectual and spiritual natures, in cultivating a greater love for the beauties around him. Such a man will seek riches and power, not for selfish motives, but rather that he might more fully develop the Christian-like attribute of helping others.

What part of our natures are we cultivating? Are we developing selfishness, that which will only give us temporary pleasure and may cause much pain and sorrow in the future, or are we seeking to follow in the footsteps of the great Master and live a life of unselfishness and purity? About which of these do you think when you do not have to think?

---M. Josephine West, The Acorn, Ogden, Utah, March 1907.

The supreme necessity for every life is to be dominated by the will of God. ...

All selfishness carries with it the seeds of deterioration and defeat and death. It is not enough for one to be clever, to be eloquent, to be strong, to be masterful. The vital question is, what does one do with his powers and talents? All power is under inexorable bonds to serve humanity. Human life is a trusteeship, education, time, influence, talents, all life, including life itself. Selfishness is the negation of God and is the suiciding of abiding greatness. As the ultimate sin is selfishness, so the ultimate virtue is self‑giving.

If you would personally know the secret of perpetual youth the way is plain. Find and follow God's will for your lives. Link your lives with unselfish causes that make constantly for the uplift and betterment of the people.

—George W. Truett, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, May 26, 1924.

The finest and best things of life are not given to those who directly seek them, but to those who put into their work their best efforts without regard for reward. The finest things of life come indirectly.

You can see the law of indirect reward exemplified in life wherever you look. All worthy success is paid for. It is carved out by the right kind of toil. Genius is the faculty for taking pains. Patience is the capacity for endurance. The full price of all success must be paid.

To attain to greatness the soul must have communion with great things. Neither does happiness come through direct seeking. It comes indirectly through trying to bring happiness to others.

Honors do not come to the direct seeker. Honor comes from the gratitude of the people for unselfish service. Selfishness is the most unbeautiful thing in the world.

There are two centers of motive in life. One is self‑will and the other is Christ's will. I would leave this lesson with the entire world‑‑the great things do not come to the self‑seeking.

—George W. Truett, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, May 31, 1926.

There is the unrecognized fault of condoning sin. We hear a man say, “I do not pretend to be a saint.” Well, of course if one did so pretend it would be a self-righteous claim. To be humble is one thing, to speak thus in order to give one greater latitude in doing wrong is simply trying to hide a serious defect. There are those, too, who refuse to take any of the burdens of self denial and religious work, on the ground that life is short and pleasure is desired. A queer justification of pure selfishness is this, which throws the burden of the world’s needs upon others, and follows one’s own will.

—C.E. Rice, Reading Eagle, Reading, Pa., Oct. 2, 1905.

Isn't most of our trouble the result of wanting our own way regardless of the other fellow's having his way? Sometimes we call it by ugly names, like "stubbornness" or "willfulness." ... I confess that it is difficult to know the right way and then be patient with someone who is determined to have it the wrong way. The trouble with that is that soon one develops a sort of thoughtless way of having his own way. It is very unfortunate when a "rule or ruin" philosophy becomes the core of conduct.

How few of us will admit our mistakes. We are quickly put on the defense and begin trying to make our mistakes seem right. It would be much wiser if we acknowledged our mistakes immediately. The defense of a mistake is another mistake.

What if everybody gave us our way and eventually our way proved wrong? Nobody can calculate the sorrow which might follow if any one of us had his way all the time and others followed us when wrong.

How few of us can get the consent of our minds to sit down and discuss our way with others. And yet this might be the most fortunate thing which could happen to us.

—Floyd Poe, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 6, 1948.

"What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:38.)

In the language of the present day this would be "Will it pay?" That is the question asked no matter what the affair into which men throw themselves and no matter what the kind of occupation a man espouses.

Man is the only animal that is capable of asking and of answering that question. He alone can look ahead and estimate and plan. The investment of the life is a serious matter. The farmer may sow his grain or he may leave the fields unsown. But the life must be invested. In one way or another it must be put out to usury and at the end of it God shall judge whether he is qualified in what is reaped.

Man must sow his life or invest it for himself. Even God cannot do this for him. We are alone in the placing of the life where it shall tell for weal or for woe. How to get the most out of it, the most substantial returns from the talents that God has given and from the possibilities he has placed at our command. There are two ways for this getting of returns and two distinct crops from the methods used.

First there is the self‑centered life. Suppose that all of the property in the world were placed in the hands of one man, or you or of me. Would you give your own soul for it? Do you believe that I should give mine? Yet there are men who for a small sum will sell their soul to the devil. The devil makes great promises of what he will do, but he makes small settlements of the things he has declared he will give. But he gives others that he has not mentioned when the bargain was made, the woes and the recompense for sin.

Nothing will satisfy such a soul. With all of the world in its hands such a soul would be like the poor rich of whom we see so many. Not rich toward God, the soul is famished. So many hundreds of the faces we see are the faces of men who are hungry. Not starved in body, but hungry in soul. The soul should have its food as steadily and as regularly as the body. But men starve the soul by keeping it away from spiritual things.

What is it such a starved soul has? This is its gain: Suppose it is the whole world. The text, "if" it is the whole world. Few can hope to get even a large part of the things of the world. Yet if great riches of things material are required, to what end is it? Fifty years at the most can a man hope to hold these things. He will get with it sorrow on sorrow.

What is the loss to such a soul? It is this: The eternal life of the soul, honest happiness in life, a sense of unrighteousness with and unfitness for holy ambitions, a disruption of the soul's best forces and its end.

There is a song which has a title, "I Want What I Want When I Want It." It is expressive. Men have in them the hunger for the things they ought to have. Men are anxious, too, to succeed in the things they have chosen for themselves. Now, God has offered salvation, His best gift, and Christ has brought it to men. The Christ‑centered life is the second alternative in the question we have asked. What is the gain to such a soul? The best interests and happiness of his soul, the salvation that is eternal it brings, the reward of righteousness, God's approval and happiness in this life, usefulness and excellence of influence, the spread of the Gospel for the salvation of other men.

And what is the loss? Sinful indulgence, lust of the flesh, inordinate desires, hopelessness and helplessness.

—Thornton Whaling, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 4, 1907.

A man who seeks in Christ only the solution to his own problems, and refuses to let Christ use him in the solution to the problems of his nation and world, will eventually lose even what he got personally. You just can't be selfish with God.

—Samuel M. Shoemaker, New York Times, Jan. 15, 1940.

Self is the most relentless tyrant that ever swayed a scepter over the empire of life. Slavery to self is the most ignoble bondage. It steals our courage and robs us of our manhood. Selfishness is the greatest foe to God's service. Friends, if you would be true servants of Jesus Christ, be masters of yourselves Don't bend to the lash of personal comfort and selfish desires and ambitions. Self will tell you, seek my good first; self will tell you that you may offend someone; self will tell you that you may lose position and friends and influence in the service of Christ. ... Self is the greatest mill, and has more machinery to manufacture excuses for the non‑performance of duty than any other establishment in all God's universe.

Again, do not allow circumstances or environment, or ease or comfort to dictate your sphere of service, or measure the force which you shall throw into the accomplishment of your duty.

—Frank K. Sims, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 8, 1900.

Selfishness is one of the great inherited weaknesses. To live according to the gospel of Jesus Christ we must control and discipline ourselves to overcome undue selfishness.

—Joseph F. Merrill Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, Dec. 14, 1942.

The reason it is not easy to be good is because of selfishness–we live in a sinful world and are influenced by environment and because of the evil one himself.

The great world conflict is the result of selfishness and if we want to be free from war we must live the Golden Rule and practice the gospel of Jesus Christ.

—Joseph F. Merrill, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, Jan. 18, 1943.

A man desires most of all the approval of his own conscience upon his life. When we have acted unselfishly, memory treasures such an act as the miser his gold, but, oh, how hard we try to forget our selfish acts. On the death bed, our unselfish acts are white‑robed angels, bringing messages of joy and hope. Our selfish acts are the black demons of despair that fill our hearts with dismay and make us afraid to die.

—John G. Slayter, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1920.

The fastest way to be miserable is to see yourself as the center of the universe and be as self‑centered as possible. God did not create us to constantly focus our attention on ourselves. To do so is nothing short of idolatry. God created us to fellowship with Him, to love Him.

When fellowship with God is denied by pride and self‑centeredness, the result is pure misery. Anyone can be miserable. When he or she is, it is by his or her own choice.

If misery is not your choice, focus on God instead of yourself. You will find a happiness that only He can give. True happiness can be found, but not outside a good relationship and fellowship with God.

—Alan Weishampel, Iowa News, Iowa, La., July 7, 1993.

Selfishness is at the root of all sin. It hurts to have those roots pulled up. The true principle of conservation is by sacrifice. "He that looseth his life shall find it."

We loose our own souls when we attempt to save ourselves from the sacrificial. We invest our lives profitably only when we abandon them to Jesus Christ's service, His way, His example.

—Clayton B. Wells, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, July 18, 1910.

Self‑forgetfulness really means master of self. No person can travel the road to happiness unless he has learned to place his work, or the cause he represents, before himself.

The violation of this principle breeds dictatorship. The dictator stands in front; his cause behind him. Devilish, cruel, heartless, the world is his meat. Avoid, fight if need be, the dictator, small or large, in your little village, in the nation, or in the world.

If you will learn to practice the principle of self‑forgetfulness in your work, astounding results will follow. Hidden energies, which you did not know you possessed, will spring into life.

The whole art of love, the greatest gift to man is to forget oneself in the welfare of the loved one. It is only by sacrifice of self that true love, real love is recognized. In your lives with husband and wife, keep this principle before you.

And, may I add the principle of self‑forgetfulness brings vigor to life's labor and promotes pure happiness.

—John A. Widtsoe, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 8, 1946.

Selfishness exposes the lack of human kindness; a lack of sympathetic concern for the poor fellow who fell among thieves on the Jericho road; of indifference to the hungry and naked millions. Selfishness closes the heart to the appeal of Him who gave His all for us, to carry His love to those who have never heard of it.

A people who in their prosperity forget their responsibility to others will soon find their prosperity becomes a curse.

—Finley W. Tinnin, Baptist Message, Alexandria, La., Jan. 13, 1949.

Self is the biggest enemy most men have to deal with.

—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, March 12, 1925.

Heaven is deaf to us when we are blind to others.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., March 7, 1909.

The use of a great truth for wholly selfish ends may be to make a great lie out of it.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., April 4, 1909.

Self-love keeps the life tramping around in a circle.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., April 4, 1909.

The more a man thinks of himself the less he is a maker of himself.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., June 6, 1909.

The selfish man is usually defeated by his own selfishness.

The selfish man pays for all his special favors in lost friendships.

The selfish man never enjoys what he gets, because of regretting what he lost.

The selfish man is never willing to take an even break‑‑he demands special advantages.

The selfish man makes it hard for the one who preaches his funeral sermon.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., July 26, 1930.

Life is to be beautified by unselfishness if it is not to corrode on our hands.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Nov. 7, 1939.

Breaking away is very often as simple as getting outside yourself.

—Bill Copeland, Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., Dec. 27, 1968.

It’s a rude awakening for a man to spend his life putting himself first and find he has been serving an ingrate.

—Bill Copeland, Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., May 27, 1970.

Selfishness creates hell after its own image.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times‑Union, Jacksonville, Fla., March 13, 1924.

The ruts in the road to heaven are made by those who try to drag with them the trailer of selfishness.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times‑Union, Jacksonville, Fla., July 14, 1924.


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