Wednesday, November 7, 2007

As He sees it

As He sees it
By John Fischer

What is the best antidote to apathy? Is it a motivational seminar? A weekend retreat? A new book that will change your life? These kinds of programs may bring temporary relief, but they are more like changing the channel when we are already overweight couch Christians. No, the best antidote to apathy is service.

Evangelicals often put being saved and going to heaven in the same sentence, as if heaven were the only goal of our salvation. But the truth is we are saved to serve. Heaven is important, but heaven can wait. God saves us because He has a job for us to do in His kingdom here on earth. If heaven is the whole point of our salvation, then what do we do while we wait?

It’s amazing how many of our own problems dissipate when we begin caring about other people’s problems instead of focusing on our own. We’ve picked up some very bad habits from our culture. We have a tendency to be preoccupied with our own needs and constantly trying to fulfill them. Advertising plays into this self-indulgence, promising that one more product will be the thing that will finally satisfy us. The truth of the matter is that “getting” will never come close to the satisfaction that “giving” affords.

Think of someone you know who is truly happy and I venture to guess you will find someone busy serving others. The supreme example of Mother Theresa comes to mind. If, in fact, our troubles will never go away (and I don’t believe they ever will in this life), then to focus on them and try to solve them is going to be nothing but a broken record. Make one problem go away, and watch another one crop up immediately. To give yourself to the task of helping with the problems of those around you may not make your own problems go away, but it will make them less of a drag in your life. Focusing on our own problems can lead to anxiety, frustration and even depression. Focusing on other people’s problems leads to usefulness and a greater sense of health.

So today, when you are tempted to look inwardly to your own needs, look out, instead, to the needs of those around you and watch your own needs diminish by comparison. You may even forget yourself in the process.

Jesus hung on a cross and thought of those who put him there and pleaded their case before His Father because He knew they didn’t realize the full impact of what they were doing. Can you imagine having even a fleeting thought about someone else if you were in that much pain yourself? But that’s just the thing about Jesus: He was always thinking of someone else.

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