I suppose I don’t have to make a very strong argument to convince anyone that we live in a selfish culture. Whether you’ve lost your job or home or whether you have recently tried to fill your car’s gas tank, you have felt the bite of our greedy, selfish culture.

Unfortunately, the church doesn’t seem to be immune. I remember a story from my Bible college days about a church that split over what kind of donuts they served each Sunday morning, powdered sugar versus glazed. While that sounds like an urban legend–and I hope that it is–I wouldn’t be too surprised to find out that it is true. People in churches argue about some pretty inconsequential things, like paint colors, coffee, carpeting. We argue about things that are, perhaps, more important, like Bible school curriculum and styles of music.

It’s nothing new. The early church had arguments about feeding widows, dietary laws, and circumcision. Even our brotherhood of churches–which was formed to restore the unity and example of the New Testament church–split over music, how to support missionaries, and even the deity of Christ and the inerrancy of the Scriptures. Obviously, there are some things that are worthy of discussion and perhaps even arguments, but clearly there are things about which we should not argue.

Personal preferences must be put aside, period. Paul wrote in Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” The next verse gives us our top priority: serving the Lord. So everything else is secondary. To be honest, there is just too much work to be done in the Kingdom to worry about our own personal preferences. Is it OK to have preferences? Sure, but those preferences should never take precedence over actual worship, evangelism, prayer, discipleship, etc. Those preferences should never be the deciding factor when it comes to whether you will serve or participate in any given ministry opportunity of the church.

The life and activity of the church should reflect the one who sacrificed everything for us selfish people. When it comes to serving God, we must devote ourselves not to ourselves but to each other so that others might benefit from our sacrifices and ultimately Jesus’ sacrifice.