Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king"; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.
The Would-Be King
Self-centeredness keeps us from truly caring about others. One of the saddest characters in American literature is Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's classic play Death of a Salesman. Poor Willy. He was always going to make that "big sale." He was going to bring home a fortune one day--then people would give him the recognition that he truly deserved. But the big sale never came. Willy even boasted of the number of people who would come to his funeral, for everybody loves a salesman. But the only people who attended Willy's funeral were his wife and two sons, the ones whom he neglected most while he played the big shot.
Adonijah was afflicted with the same problem. His father, King David, was old and feeble but had not yet publicly appointed an heir. Instead of considering his father's wishes, Adonijah decided he would "exalt himself." He was a self-appointed king. Furthermore, his actions reflected the attitude that he considered his father as good as dead. He never saw beyond himself.
American culture encourages self-centeredness. Slogans such as "You deserve a break today," "Grab all the gusto" and "Have it your way" can seduce even Christians into believing that life revolves around their own whims and wishes. How different this attitude is from what the New Testament teaches. We are commanded to "love one another" (John 13:34), "receive one another" (Rom. 15:7), "serve one another" (Gal. 5:13) and "forgive one another" (Col. 3:13). Instead of exalting ourselves, Scripture exhorts us to be concerned about the welfare of others.
Be careful not to buy into the "me-first" philosophy that permeates our world today. Ask God to give you a heart that is sensitive to the needs of others. Pray for others. Demonstrate your concern for others in the way you care for their needs. And trust God to provide for you as He provides for others through you. It's the way to beat the trap of self-centeredness.
Exalt others and let God exalt you.