eMeditation on the Bible 


Question: What is the benefit of self-giving love? 


Story (Matthew 13:44 & John 15:9-11) 

Jesus told a parable to illustrate what happens when we live according to the core value of God’s family: self-giving love. In the story, a man found a treasure hidden in a field. It was so very valuable that he sold everything he owned to buy the field and obtain the treasure. Having the treasure was well worth his great sacrifice because it brought him great joy.  


Later Jesus said to his followers:  

“Just as our heavenly father has loved me, I have loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. In the same way, I have obeyed the commands of our heavenly father and I remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will have the same joy that I have. I also want your joy to be complete.” 


General Principles 

God created us for self-giving love and joy. But, how can we experience joy when self-giving love requires a lifestyle that sacrifices personal time, energy and material resources on behalf of others? This seems like a contradiction. However, what appear to be contradictions in life are often paradoxes in which the result of something we do is the opposite of what we normally expect. One the great paradoxes of life pertains to the self-giving love that serves other people without looking for personal gain from them. It is natural to believe that sharing resources (time, kindness. knowledge, and material goods) to care for the well-being of others and enable their lives to flourish will limit our happiness. It seems logical to think that a satisfying life is created by prioritizing our own comfort, pleasure and success above that of others. But paradoxically, the opposite is true! 


Personal Application 

Balancing your own well-being with serving the well-being of others brings true joy. Reaching out to people with kindness, hospitality, reassurance or assistance fills the heart with the deep satisfaction of a joy that endures. In contrast, happiness is a temporary experience that happens during moments of pleasure and success, and often does not last during the in-between times. Moreover, living primarily for personal success, power, possessions and pleasure has the unintended consequence of dissatisfaction and inner emptiness. This is because what we obtain and experience to make us happy is never enough; sustaining happiness always requires more. Once, one of the richest, most successful and powerful men in the world, John Rockefeller, was asked, “How much money is enough?” He replied, “Just a little bit more.” 


Respond by Growing 

Reach out to other people with self-giving love: (1) a word of kindness that brings a smile; (2) encouragement that gives confidence; (3) an act of compassion that lifts a burden; (4) a bit of knowledge to help someone succeed; (5) hospitality to make a stranger feel comfortable; (6) assistance that improves a life. You will experience joy: (1) the deep joy of making your life bigger and greater than living only for yourself; (2) the enduring joy of contributing to the well-being of others; (3) the satisfying joy of serving those in need. God created you for self-giving love and for its reward: joy.