Is It OK to Feel Good about Serving Others?

September 26, 2016

“For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” (Luke 9:46-50)

This is not the only time Jesus tells us to put others first. On the surface, it seems like a pretty simple directive. However, it can prove to be quite difficult to implement.

I know exactly what it means to put others first, but “me” keeps getting in my way.

I write and deliver homilies in order to respond to my call to evangelize and spread the Gospel message. I do it for others. But I also like it when people tell me it has made a difference. I like to be affirmed. That’s about me.

I have tried to be the very best parent I can be. I want the best for my kids and would do anything for them. I do it for them. But I like it when I am acknowledged by my kids or by someone looking on that I am a good parent. That’s about me.

When I cut my elderly neighbor’s grass, I am providing her with a much needed service. She needs me and I am there for her. But it makes me feel good. I like feeling like I am a good person. That’s about me.

As I said, Jesus’ directive is difficult to implement, and can be confusing. Am I doing this for others, or am I really doing it for me?

I think it is easiest to reconcile this question by asking another question: Is what I am doing being done with a servant’s heart? If my actions come from a place of love, and my intent is to serve others, I think I am following Jesus’ directive.

If I receive a side benefit of public affirmation or feeling good about myself, I think it is Jesus’ way of encouraging me to continue doing His work.

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