by Calven Celliers
A friend of mine recently sent me a WhatsApp devotion that included the following little story, which I thought was well worth sharing with all of you.
A teacher once brought a whole lot of balloons to school, told her pupils to blow them up and write their name on one. After the children tossed the balloons into the classroom, the teacher moved through the small classroom and shuffled them around. The children were then allowed back into the classroom and told they had a couple of minutes to find the balloon with their name on it. There was great excitement as the children frantically searched, very few, if any of them actually found their balloon. The teacher then told them to all stand still, to take the balloon closest to them and to give it to the person whose name was on it. In less than 2 minutes, everyone was holding their own balloon. The teacher went on to explain that the balloons are like happiness. We won’t ever find it when we’re only searching for our own. But if we care about someone else’s happiness, it will ultimately help us find our own.
I can’t vouch if this is a true story or not, but it certainly got me thinking about the apostle Paul’s words to the Philippians – “3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2: 3 & 4NIV)
Permanent, ongoing happiness only comes when you give your life away in service. God wired you to give your life away. Why? Because God wants you to be like Him.
You’ve got to get your mind off of yourself. The more you focus on yourself, the more miserable you will become. To find real joy, you must shift from an inward focus, “It’s all about me”, to an outward focus, “It’s all about God and serving others”. Of course, this is countercultural. Our society screams that it’s all about you. However, I’ve come to see that the most helpful, giving people are normally the happiest people as well.
I’ve learned that you can’t be both selfish and happy. As Christians, we’re destined to be molded into the image of Christ, and Jesus is the greatest example of what it means to love others and not live a selfish life. The following Scripture shows us that Jesus gave everything when He demonstrated His love for us –
“16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John3:16NIV)
Now I realize that loving others is not always easy, and it usually costs us something, but through our relationship with Christ, we can find the strength and ability to love others, even when it seems to cost more than we think we can give. God is faithful to give us His love, grace and wisdom to reach out and be a blessing to others. And when we do, we end up receiving more joy and peace than we had before.
The world is full of lonely, hurting people who are hungry for the love of God and the hope that is only found in Jesus. I want to encourage you to get rid of a “What about me?” mindset and instead pray, “God, show me someone I can help.”
Let’s face it, we all have room to grow in our relationship with God, and learning how to reach out to others is a big part of that process. Being selfish and always trying to meet your own needs only leads to misery. But the more you trust God to meet your needs, the more you’ll be free to help others, and the happier you’ll be. The truth is, you can’t be happy if the center of your life is you! Be determined each and every day to do at least one thing for someone else that makes their life better.
God bless you,