Good ... How?

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The only way to figure out whether Jesus was right about serving others is to test it personally — and then examine the state of your heart after you do.

. . . and he will give you the desires of your heart—Psalm 37:4

When the Apostle Paul wrote the word “good” in the passage below, what did he mean?

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

He certainly meant the works—the things we are to do, the ways we are to serve—are good things, in and of themselves. And, of course, he meant the works are good for others, good for those people we are meant to serve. Going a bit further, though, could it be he also meant the things we are to do, the ways we are to serve . . . are good for us, too?

Of course he did; of course they are. That’s precisely what Jesus was getting at when he said it’s “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) . . . or, as Eugene Peterson translates: “You’re far happier giving than getting” (Acts 20:35 MSG). It’s been nearly two thousand years and that notion is still counterculture. But the truth is . . . to give, to serve, to notice, to care, to love, to offer our strength to others, to live for others, is actually what brings purpose, fulfillment, joy to our lives. It’s how we men actually get to fully alive and what-you’ve-always-dreamed-of kind of stuff. It’s one important reason why King David sang,

“Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

Okay, so what do we do?

It’s simple. The only way to figure out whether Jesus was right on this or not, is to test it—personally. Someone needs you today. Someone needs you, right now. Look around. Who is it? Reach out. Go ahead and help him or her . . . and then, examine the state of your heart after you do.


 

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