Don’t be a Chronological Narcissist

In Greek mythology, Narcissus was the most handsome man in the world. According to the Ancient History Encyclopedia, he never fell in love with anyone until one day when he saw his own reflection and fell in love with himself. Unwilling to turn his gaze away from himself, Narcissus eventually died of dehydration and starvation.

Dr. Jeff Myers of Summit Ministries describes “chronological narcissists” as people who are “ignorant of the past, uncomprehending of the present, and careless of the future.” Because they are so wrapped up in their own life, they don’t know their history or heritage. They are unaware of what is going on presently, and don’t care about what the future holds. Just as Narcissus was self-absorbed, we can fall into that same temptation when it comes to knowing the past, present, and what to do in the future as Christians in the kingdom of the left hand, or the state.

One way to avoid chronological narcissism is to know history. In the Bible, there were many famous people who served in government positions as they remained faithful to God. Joseph served as second-in-command to Pharaoh in Egypt (Genesis 41). Using the information God gave him about an upcoming famine, Joseph persuaded Pharaoh to save grain for his people to survive for 7 years.

Daniel was another faithful follower who served in a government position. His wisdom was renown so that he served many kings. Daniel 1:20 says, “In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.”

Esther was a woman who was willing to sacrifice her life to save her people, the Jews. Even though she was one of King Xerxes’ wives, she was not able to enter the king’s presence unless she was summoned. Upon learning of an attempt to eradicate all Jews in the kingdom, Esther bravely put her life on the line and entered the king’s presence to warn him of the attack. Her bravery saved countless lives (Esther 4-7).

Nehemiah was a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 1). Although his job ensured the safety of the king’s drink, he was also concerned about the safety of his people, the Jews, back in Jerusalem. Nehemiah requested a leave of absence to lead the reconstruction of the city walls so they people could be safe. These are just a few of the many followers of God who served Him as well as people in the kingdom of the left hand. We need to know our history, because “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

Painting: Narcissus by Caravaggio (Public Domain)

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