Having the Best Interests of Others at Heart (365 Days of Daring Faith — DAY 339)
Philippians 2:4 (NLT)
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
Many people in the world often complain about how unhappy they are with their lives. When I hear people talk about finding happiness, I often think that what you are looking for is never so close as the person right next to you — a child, a friend, a co-worker, a parent, a neighbor, a spouse. The beginning of all happiness is not found within ourselves, what we can gain for ourselves, or how we can improve our own lives. It is found in what we can give of ourselves. If all you think about is yourself, you’re going to be quite miserable.
Scripture tells us, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Why does it tell us to do this? Because most people are going to look out for their own interests. “Every man for himself” is usually how it goes and so many people feel unfairly treated and get left behind because everyone else is too concerned with their own needs to take just a minute to express concern for someone else. It is easier to focus on our problems because they are closest to us, but when we focus on the needs of others, our problems seem either much easier to handle or just go away.
I have to admit that there are times I don’t think about the needs of others or I miss what is bothering someone else because I am too concerned about what is bothering me. When I choose to take an interest in others and put their needs before my own, I find more consistent happiness and joy. I grow a lot in those moments when I am helping or serving others. My problems seem so minor and manageable when someone else is on the other side of the lens. I don’t like it when I miss opportunities to serve. And when I serve, I sometimes have to pinch myself because of the happiness that pours over me in abundance from someone else’s needs being met. So instead of feeling the guilt of those missed opportunities, be intentional about serving, giving, and loving. Find a cause and fight for it. Find someone who needs help and be there for them.
When most people get up in the morning, they are solely focused on their agenda, their interests, and what they have to or want to do in the day. Rarely do we give first thoughts to someone else. And that’s why so many of us are unhappy. Caring for others is not something that comes naturally to most of us. But like most anything else in life, turning our attention from ourselves to other people is a choice we have to make each day. Shifting your focus from yourself to other people is one of the best changes you can ever make in your life. On the other side of that shift is freedom, purpose, and an overflowing abundance of happiness.
“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”
— Martin Luther King Jr.