I receive a daily devotional through my email. It’s from the Purpose Driven Life folks. It’s usually pretty good, but I must admit that here lately, I’ve just been skimming over it, feeling too guilty to delete it without reading it. Well, I’m really glad I read it today because I think it has a good point. Check it out:
Someone elseÃ¢‚¬„¢s problems
by John Fischer
Evangelicals often put being saved and going to heaven in the same sentence, as if heaven were the only goal of our salvation. But the truth is, we are saved to serve. Heaven is important, but heaven can wait. God saves us because he has a job for us to do in his Kingdom here on earth. If heaven is the whole point of our salvation, then what do we do while we wait? Change the channel on our Christian entertainment?
ItÃ¢‚¬„¢s amazing how many of our own problems dissipate when we begin caring about other peopleÃ¢‚¬„¢s problems instead of focusing on our own. WeÃ¢‚¬„¢ve picked up some very bad habits from our culture. We have a tendency to be preoccupied with our own needs and constantly trying to fulfill them. Advertising plays into this self-indulgence, promising that one more product will be the thing that will finally satisfy us. The truth of the matter is: Getting will never come close to the satisfaction that giving affords.
Think of someone you know who is truly happy and I venture to guess you will find that someone busy serving others. If, in fact, our troubles will never go away (and I donÃ¢‚¬„¢t believe they ever will in this life), then to focus on them and try to solve them is going to be nothing but a broken record. Make one problem go away, and watch another one crop up immediately. To give ourselves to the task of attending to the problems of those around us may not make our own problems go away, but it will make them less of a drag. Focusing on our own problems can lead to anxiety, frustration, and even depression. Focusing on other peopleÃ¢‚¬„¢s problems leads to usefulness and a greater sense of health.
So today, when we are tempted to look in, to our own needs, letÃ¢‚¬„¢s look out, instead, to the needs of those around us and see if our own needs diminish by comparison. Who knows, we may even forget about ourselves in the process.
Jesus hung on a cross and thought of those who were putting him there, and even pleaded their case before his Father, because he knew they didnÃ¢‚¬„¢t realize the full impact of what they were doing. Can you imagine having even a fleeting thought about someone else if you were in that much pain yourself? But thatÃ¢‚¬„¢s just the thing about Jesus: He was always thinking of someone else.
Call me crazy, but I think he has a good point. I’ve always said that nothing can beat the feeling of giving. Too bad I don’t practice it more often. If anyone is interested in getting the devotional, you can sign up for it here.