I love paradoxology. I believe Jesus and His Apostles did too…consider:
- Matthew 10:39 – He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.
- John 12:24 – Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
- Romans 6:18 ~ and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
- 2 Cor 12:10 ~ For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
- Philippians 3:7,8 ~ But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ.
- James 4:10 ~ Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.
…and my favorite, which is the topic of this post, Acts 20:35 ~ In all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Because we are self-centered by nature, we can get so caught up in the pursuit of an elusive feeling of happiness, that we lose sight of the goal itself, that is the state of being happy. The sad fact is, many of the things we pursue that we think will make us happy, only serve to bring us down, and we are stuck with a growing void in our lives, and happiness continues to escape our grasp.
I think Mother Theodore Guerin nailed it when she suggested that we will be happy when we turn the focus away from seeking to acquire it for ourselves, and instead aim to provide happiness to others. When we are focused on the happiness of another, a strange phenomena occurs, without even trying to gain it for ourselves, it has unpacked and taken up residence in us. This is a practical application of the teaching in Ecclesiastes 11:1, that of casting your bread upon the waters, and having it return to you after many days.
I am reminded of a sweet little poem that I found when I was a young mother: Enjoy.
What We Give Away
The more you laugh, the less you fret.
The more you do unselfishly,
The more of everything you share,
The more you love, the more you’ll find
For only what we give away,