Thought #7: Helping others is key to leading a happy life

Well, here it is 11:17 pm on Jan 6th. My goal for the first 10 days of the year was to post once daily about how certain thoughts can actually change our world. And I believe 100% in these ten “thoughts” I’m writing about. My goal of posting daily for the first ten days of the year, however, might have been a bit ambitious. Because now it’s 11:23 pm, and I’m ending up worrying about myself after all because I don’t think I can stay awake to write this post! So…in an attempt to still elaborate on the thought for the day and give you information other than my dreams, I’ve pulled from the archives (I’m not sure, but I think that makes me sound old!)

Today’s particular thought on helping others was one of the posts in my series, “Tips to a happier  you in 2012,” so I’m reposting and getting to cheat a little. And get to sleep before midnight. Smile Enjoy!

Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”
 (Romans 15:1-2 Msg)
The definition of altruism in the New American Oxford Dictionary reads as follows:
altruism |ˈaltroōˌizəm|
noun
the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others
One of the foundational truths repeated time and time again throughout the Bible is that we should practice altruism:
You shall love your neighbor
as yourself.
(Mark 12:31 ESV)
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law of the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12 ESV)
We are to care for and have compassion for our fellow man.
Much scientific research has been done on the effects of altruism, and it has been proven time and time again it benefits both the giver and the receiver. Acts of kindness and altruism have shown to actually increase serotonin production in both parties involved.
When we are depressed, we tend to maintain the “poor, pitiful me” status. You can only remain miserable by continuing to look inward. When we begin to help someone else, we take our focus off ourselves and begin looking outward.
In doing some research on altruism, I did find a few studies that support findings that altruism can contribute to depression. The giver can get wrapped up in the problems of the receiver and become depressed. I do understand that way of thinking, and that’s where our faith must come into play. There will always be sad situations that are ultimately out of our control. But that’s where God comes in. We are only commanded to help others, not to solve all of their problems. God has a plan and as Christians, we must trust him to carry out that plan. We are only to carry out the part of that plan as he presents it to us.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 ESV)
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
(Ephesians 1:11 ESV)
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 ESV)
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
(Proverbs 19:21 ESV)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
(Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)
Serving others is always an adventure. To begin an act of service is to open yourself up to blessings you never know existed.
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’(Matthew 25:40 ESV)
Matthew 6:19-21 tells us not to collect treasures here on earth, but to lay up our treasures in Heaven. Have you ever wondered what that really means? Every single person on the earth has eternal significance—they all have souls worth saving—and will be our treasures in Heaven. 
I challenge you this week to look outward into the world around you and see what you can do for someone else.
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Comments

  1. Great post and great passages, Celeste. I finished teaching through Hosea yesterday and pointed out that God told Israel to return to Him. Part of returning is being available for service. You make a good point: nothing gets our minds off ourselves like helping someone else.

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