Last week we began a fascinating discussion of using our biblically enhanced wellbeing to help other people. We first emphasized that our speech should not be used to satisfy primarily our own emotions or purposes, but to meet the needs of others. That takes some work!
However, to serve God we should turn our thoughts away from ourselves, as we are able, and reach out to others, not only using gracious speech, but our actions as well. Amazingly, the service we provide to others further enhances not only our knowledge of God, but our own wellbeing as well (Colossians 1:10). In a survey Teleios performed at Grace Community Church in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, pastored by Dr. Rod MacIlvaine, we found among over 300 attendees that those who were involved in church or community service demonstrated greater personal wellbeing (Community Ment Health J 2014;50:577-82).
Why would this be? We do not know for certain, but we could speculate the following: first, those who serve other people have the satisfaction of knowing they are meeting the desires of God; second, their own problems are put into proper perspective not only by perceiving the suffering of other people but also by ordering their own priorities under God’s; and lastly, by serving they will focus less on their own troubles perhaps reducing the emotional burden of these problems.
Of course, the benefit of serving others is not limited to the person giving but also to the individuals or communities receiving the help. The benefit of service has been little studied in the medical literature, to our knowledge, however, we believe that assistance to communities and giving to individuals promotes a gracious and courteous culture which allows all to pursue their best.
Consider too that a generous local community helps people to remove their dependence on state subsistence which requires taxpayer funding and limits local community action and individual care for one another. Such dependence on a distant government may result potentially in a cold and self-focused community.
Thank you for joining me today. I welcome your comments and questions.