Friday, February 6, 2015

Selfishness and Happiness

Chuckle:  Patient: “Doctor, Why do you whistle when you operate?”  Doctor: “It helps take my mind off my work.” 
 
Quote:  “He who lives only for himself is truly dead to others.” –Publilius Syrus
 
SELFISHNESS AND HAPPINESS
 
    “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies sound judgment” (Proverbs 18:1 NIV).  “Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t think only about your affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing” (Philippians 2:3-4 NLT).
 
Everyone I know is searching for happiness.  But searching for happiness by being selfish is like trying to catch an elusive butterfly.  When you stop trying to catch it and instead devote your attention to tending your garden, often the butterfly will quietly and unexpectedly light on your shoulder.  You can try and try to catch happiness to no avail; but when you stop searching and begin immersing yourself in the really important things in life, happiness will present itself when you least expect it.  This is because your mind is on something bigger and better than yourself.  To put it another way, it seems to me that happiness is a by-product of a well lived life, not a separate entity to be pursued.
 
The world would have you believe that happiness will come only when you look out for yourself at the expense of others.  Self-indulgence in money and things is touted as a means to attain happiness.  The concept of happiness differs between individuals, but a truth from God’s Word is that no person can be truly happy who lives solely for himself.  But the wise person makes his relationship with God his first priority, followed by concern for others, and lastly himself.  In our passages, we are warned about selfishness.
 
Preoccupation with self and selfishness can destroy relationships within families, churches and communities, but genuine humility and selfless concern for others will produce healthy relationships.  This does not mean we should put ourselves down, but that the wellbeing of others is more important to us than our own.  This means having the wisdom to forecast outcomes from selflessness and the desire to unselfishly share our time, talents, money and possessions with others to enhance their lives.  

Ralph L. Woods: An ambitious farmer, unhappy about the yield of his crops, heard of a highly recommended new seed corn.  He bought some and produced a crop that was so abundant his astonished neighbors asked him to sell them a portion of the new seed.  But the farmer, afraid that he would lose a profitable competitive advantage, refused.  The second year the new seed did not produce as good a crop, and when the third-year crop was still worse it dawned upon the farmer that his prize corn was being pollinated by the inferior grade of corn from his neighbors' fields. --C.R. Gibson, Wellsprings of Wisdom.

Seeing others’ interests as more important than our own connects us to Christ, the ultimate example of humility and service, and puts us on the road to true happiness.


Love, Jerry & Dotse 

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