The point is not just to get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.
1 Corinthians 10:24 MSG
Everybody wants to live well, to create a good life for themselves. That’s probably the main motivation for most of our life choices – what’s going to make me happy?
God takes delight in us being happy and fulfilled, so that’s not a problem. What’s interesting is how we get to that good life, because the route to happiness isn’t obvious. We have a habit of looking for happiness in the wrong places.
This verse hints at a paradox that keeps coming up in the Bible – it’s more blessed to give than to receive. Those who want to find their life must lose it. The first will be last and the last will be first. These verses suggest that pursuing our own interests and desires might not lead to the life we imagine. Satisfaction may actually lie in putting others first.
It’s now possible to confirm this with science, and that is in fact exactly how it works. The act of giving triggers the brain’s pleasure receptors. The human brain is basically wired to reward generosity.
So when this verse says that ‘our foremost efforts should be to help others live well’, don’t read that as a command. It’s not a duty, something we need to feel guilty about. It’s an invitation to step into a good life ourselves.
Let’s not be satisfied with getting by. As the verse says, we want to live well. And the key to that is to set up our lives to help others. What can we give? In money, energy, time? How can we help others to live well and reach their full potential?
In the pursuit of other people’s happiness, we will find our own.
How about putting that to the test today?