“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It’s to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Think about the last time you were truly happy. What did it look like? What were you doing?
Chances are you were not alone, and there’s a good chance you were feeling happy and fulfilled because you had done something nice for someone, offered a kind gesture or helped a friend in some way.
It’s an innate human need to help others. Some of us may feel the need stronger than others, but we really all have that need in some way or another. It’s Biblical. We were put on this earth to do good; not to BE but to HELP the less fortunate.
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16
Sadly, society, in general, has gotten away from this need and desire to help others in recent years. Our culture seems to be finding its roots in a more toxic blend of self-absorption and boredom. This is dangerous for our community and our nation. Nothing good comes from this.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can (and should) turn the corner to a more selfless way of life, to helping others be happier, healthier and more fulfilled.
“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain
A Family In Need
Years ago, a member of our church was in an accident and became quadriplegic. Our church came to his need by holding a fundraiser. We established a separate account for his family, remodeled their home for wheelchair access and bought them a conversion van. For months, our church family helped them adjust to this new way of life.
Fast forward several years, I discovered they were in a huge financial bind. This couple was going to sell their home to make ends meet. The church account that was set up for them had run dry and was completely forgotten about. I decided to confidentially tithe my check from my new business on this family’s behalf. Each month, I was able to give more and more until the church told me that they were back on solid ground financially.
This family never knew where the funds came from, and that was by my request. Being able to help someone anonymously gives even greater joy to me. While I’ll always hold close a desire to help others, this experience impacted me in a very special way.
I think we all have a responsibility to use our talents to help others. Some are able to heal, others are able to coach and others have a talent for bringing joy. My gift is mentorship and helping others to find their own strengths and put them to use, so they can lead the lives they love.
When we use our gifts and talents for the betterment of others, we get a front row seat to watch the blessings unfold. We can empower others to live their best life. And this helps to satisfy our internal need to help others.
How to Give Back
If giving back to others is a struggle for you because your current job or place in life doesn’t give you the opportunities to do so, it’s not as difficult as you think. Giving to and helping others can be simple and free; it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.
- Send a handwritten letter of encouragement to a friend going through a rough time.
- Surprise someone with something they’ve always wanted (but would never buy for themselves). Even better: send it anonymously!
- Teach a class at your church or community center, sharing your talents with others in your community. Some ideas include money management, babysitting, cooking or Bible studies.
- The next time you make a casserole, double the batch and take the extra to a neighbor’s house.
- Participate in food drives whenever you see promotional posters in the grocery store.
- Volunteer for a local charity, especially one that you are passionate about.
- If you’re a small business owner, consider sponsoring a youth sports team in your neighborhood or in a less-privileged area. Chances are those kids need some equipment or uniforms.
- When you’re in a drive-through, pay for the next person in line before you drive away.
The options are truly endless if you’re looking for ways to give back to others. Choose one idea to try out this week and do it. When you recognize the feeling of accomplishment you get from helping someone else, you’re sure to want to do it again.