eMeditation on the Bible
Question: What is the benefit of
Story (Matthew 13:44 & John
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.”
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!
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.