Helping Someone Else

A few weekends ago, I traveled out of state to lead a retreat. I went with the idea that I would be helping someone else. The event went quite well. I felt like some goals were accomplished, and that I was actually able to help some else.

As it turns out, however, I think I’m the one who received the most help. I’m not really surprised by that, because (in my sixty-seven years) I’ve discovered this to be true in most cases. Any time I set out to help someone else, I usually come away with the feeling that I was the one receiving the benefit. I’m beginning to get the idea (finally) that the Lord set it all up that way.

The Spirit Really Spoke

Because I preach nearly every Sunday (at least), this feeling happens to me after many worship services. When the service is over, I don’t always know if I was able to help someone else, but I’m sure it helped me. Part of that is because I put in a lot of prep time researching and wrestling with the Scripture passage for that particular sermon. But a lot of the time, it’s the genuine feeling that the Holy Spirit really spoke to me through the very words that came out of my own mouth.

The same sort of thing often happens on short-term mission trips. I’ve taken groups into areas where people are in need. We’ve worked among them, met some of their needs, and reached some of our preset goals for the trip. Inevitably, I get back home with the feeling that I’ve been helped more than I’ve given.

How many times have you heard someone talk about the good feeling they have after having sacrificed time and effort to aid someone through a difficult time? Why would we feel good after having given away something of ourselves? I guess it’s like someone once said, “Love is the only thing you can give away and end up with more than you had when you began.”

Sacrifice is not merely a noble endeavor…

I suppose this is at least partly what Jesus was referring to when he said, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29) Not only is sacrifice a noble endeavor; it seems to reap its own rewards. Funny how that is…

It’s certainly not that we should do something merely so we can harvest a return for ourselves. Still, it’s nice to know that our best efforts don’t go unrewarded, as it sometimes seems.

It’s certainly not that we should do something merely so we can harvest a return for ourselves. Still, it’s nice to know that our best efforts don’t go unrewarded, as it sometimes seems.

David Livingstone once wrote, “People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny? It is emphatically no sacrifice.”

I think he had it right.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]

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