SEEK TO SERVE

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” – Matthew 20:16

In my previous post I discussed the power of gratitude and how having an attitude of gratitude shifts our mindset to focus on the good things we have in our life vs. the bad.  Making gratitude the foundation of building a new you is essential to sustaining happiness and success.  If gratitude is our foundation then SERVICE is the roof that we should live our lives under.

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According to Stephen G. Post, professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University in New York and author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping, a part of our brain sends out feel good chemicals like dopamine, and possibly serotonin. These chemicals help us feel joy and delight, a “helper’s high.”  A common reaction is that “some people feel more tranquil, peaceful, serene; others, warmer and more trusting.”

Kathy Gottberg, author and writer at SmartLiving365.com adds, “When we volunteer we often give ourselves deeper purpose and meaning and that nearly always leads to greater happiness.  Gottberg lists 7 advantages to serving and helping others:
1. More happiness
2. Reduce stress
3. Relief from pain
4. Longer lifespan
5. Lower blood pressure
6. Reduce mild depression
7. Benefit your career (The Go-Giver, by Bob Berg & John David Mann is worth a read for this category)

Leslie Goldman, contributor to the Huffington Post agrees, “Practicing philanthropy is one of the surest steps you can take toward a happy, healthy life.”  When you help a friend move, help jump someone’s car, donate to a charity, or serve food at a homeless shelter, the reward center in your brain goes to work and you start to feel good.  In fact, one study found that people who completed five small acts of kindness one day a week (reading to elderly, volunteering at church, or buying someone’s lunch) for six weeks experienced a significant boost in overall feelings of well being.  However, research shows there is a threshold of giving needed to reach before it has an impact, says Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside,  “Those who spread their goodwill over the course of a week showed no such boost.”  Lyubomirsky concluded, “Each action has a cumulative effect.  The more nice things you do, the more people will respond positively toward you, and the better you feel.”

Do this exercise with me, extend your hand out with your pointer finger pointing outward…like this:

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I call this the “G3 Law.”  For every one genuine act of kindness, service, and generosity you give, you will be blessed 3 times over.  The pointer finger represents one external act of kindness, while the three fingers pointing back at you represent the abundance of blessings you will receive 3 times greater than your one single act.  

The Bible says, “Your treasure is where your heart is,” (Matthew 6:21).  Thus, if your heart isn’t in the right place, you won’t see the benefits.  Dr. Michael Poulin assistant professor of psychology at the University Buffalo says, “Helping appears to only be good for you if you really care about those you’re helping.”  Kathy Gottberg’s blog SmartLiving365 agrees, “Feeling resentment or obligation will erase the benefits that we might otherwise receive in both our emotions and our physiology.  If you feel exploited in any way, it is better not to take the action than stress yourself out doing something for the wrong person.”  

The Bible supports this approach of service, but only if your helping comes from a sincere place.  2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one must give as he has decided on his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God blesses a cheerful giver.”  In the end, God knows our heart.  Serve, help, and be generous…your health, happiness, and wealth depends on it!

30 Days of Gratitude and Service Challenge:
Along with writing down what you are thankful for and telling someone why you are thankful for them each day…for the next 30 days:

1. Go above and beyond to serve and help others.  Do at least one random act of kindness to help someone each day.

2. Each One Reach One: Pick one person for the next 30 days that you can pour into, mentor, and serve.  Maybe this is someone in your life that could use some company, a friend, might need financial help, our could benefit from a positive influence in their life.

Quality is better than quantity.  If we all can pour into one individual and help them get to a better place (and they learn the power of service and helping another person)…imagine how much better our community and world will be.

Check out these articles on the power of service.  They are quick and easy reads and the payoff is substantial.  Hope you all have a great week!  Remember…SEEK TO SERVE!

Volunteering: 7 Big Reasons Why Serving Others Serves Us

4 Amazing Health Benefits Of Helping Others

Check back this week as we continue my series, 30 Days of Gratitude and Service.  I’ll discuss the role that FEAR plays as a roadblock of becoming the best version of yourself.

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