Service and Happiness

My church started a new Bible study last night.  We’re going through The Easter Experience: What If What Happened Then Changes Everything Now?  Last night’s lesson focused on how one can become happy and arrive at a sense of purpose by serving others.  It looked at John 13, where Jesus washes his disciples’ feet.

Does serving others make the person serving happy?  It can, I suppose.  I know that focusing on myself and my own wants and needs does not make me happy.  Back when I was an undergraduate, I did a variety of service jobs: working at a nursing home, tutoring, etc.  Those were happy times.  It was important for me to get outside of myself.

I am a bit doubtful, however, about whether service is always the sure path to happiness that people think it is.  If that were the case, then servants and housewives would be the happiest people in the world!  Some are, but not all are.  Service is still important, though, because otherwise the world would be a colder place than it currently is.  I have to appreciate those who have helped me, whether they be Christians or non-Christians.  They inspire me to want to help others.

How can I serve?  Well, I can say that I serve through blogging, and, in a sense, I do.  And yet, there is so much self-promotion and self-centeredness that accompanies my blogging: me wanting attention, me wanting people to admire me for being brilliant, me being upset when they don’t.  That does not mean that I will give it up, for it does help me, and perhaps others.  What I need is a different attitude about it.  Rather than being upset that someone visits my post just to look for information, without then going on to click “like” or to follow my blog, I can hope that the person found what he or she was looking for.

There are probably other things that I can do to serve.  The challenge is to motivate myself to do it.

All of that said, I like this Bible study so far.  It gets into practical spirituality rather than controversial issues.  I was quiet last night at Bible study, for I wanted to hear what others had to say about service and humility.


About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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