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Doing for Self or Others?

Jesus performed many miracles. With the exception of perhaps three or four, all of the miracles of Jesus were done specifically to help others. At least twenty-two of those miracles were acts of healing. So we have many statements like ... “and Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.” (Mt. 4:23).

Sociologists studying how people behave and function once described those younger as living in the “ME” generation. I don’t think our children growing up today are any more “ME” oriented than children of other times. However, I do think they are largely being raised differently and that does change their experiences and expectations.

Some of our previous generations grew up having to do hard physical work for others to survive. They told of growing up when life was hard, money was tight, and sacrifice was a normal way of life for fathers, mothers, spouses and children. However, not everyone who grew up hard was generous to others. Some became very selfish and bitter toward others their whole life.

How differently the Bible describes Jesus, saying that He “went about doing good,” (Acts 10:38) with the implication that He was in the habit of helping others.

The wife of a friend told me her husband worked three jobs when his children were young to take care of his family. In contrast, I read an article by a young woman fresh from college doing a 9-5 job complaining that work was “destroying her life” because she could no longer go to the gym, read and just hang out with her friends anymore. Imagine her married.

There’s an old sermon illustration that describes a boy in math class. While studying fractions, the story goes, a teacher asked how many pieces a mother would cut her one pie into to feed a family of nine. One boy responds “eight.” The teacher tells the boy he is mistaken and has not understood the problem correctly and the answer should be “nine.” To which the boy says, “No ma'am. You don’t know my mother. If she only had one pie for nine of us she would say she didn’t want any pie.”

Many today live with the belief that the world owes them a good job, a good house, in a good neighborhood, etc. In contrast, Jesus said, (Mt. 20:28) "... the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life...

- Tim Orbison


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