Monday, July 9, 2012

Feeling Good

I heard one of those "upbeat-stories-at-the-end-of-a –dreary-news-day" essays that often close a newscast at night. It was about a person who helped the homeless. During the interview, the helper said, "I like to feel good making other people feel good." I wonder how much of our benevolence and outreach is done because we like (or expect) the positive reaction of those being helped.

Having been in the helping business for many years, I have seen more than a few times when those being helped are hostile or indifferent to the help and the helper. And I have seen many helpers crushed as a result.

I am all for feeling good. I personally love it. Who would not? But is feeling good meant to be a fruit of service or the goal of service? All too often, we make it a goal and are hurt or angered when we do not get the reaction we anticipate.

Jesus served and, while he got some thanks along the way, he ultimately was killed for his efforts. His mission was to alleviate the suffering sin had ushered into our lives. He stayed on track regardless of the outcome. I suspect he enjoyed it when he was thanked by a grateful recipient. I am sure he cherished the fruit of service. But feeling good was not his motivation. Participating in God's healing of a broken world was. Jesus did as asked. It was up to God and the person being helped what happened next.

I hope your efforts to help today yield good responses and good feelings. Do them because they are the right thing to do. When they do not yield smiles, remember that God is pleased by your service. It is even okay to feel hurt. Just move on to the bigger picture. You did God's work and that's enough.

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