Personally, it’s easier for me to give of my money than my time. As a busy person, and who isn’t? When I get home from work or fantasize about a restful weekend, the last thing I want to do is pile on additional obligations that might compromise my well-deserved R&R. Now of course, a good balance of work, play and rest is an important part of life.
Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by thinking that our measly efforts can’t really make a big impact. We see the immensity of the need in the world and the pitiful smallness of our own contribution, and end up wondering if I have the ability to make any difference at all. I remember when I got involved with a local homeless shelter that had 100 beds. I thought, wow – 100 beds! This is a huge operation! It sounded like we were helping a significant number of desperately needy people. But then I heard that there were over 15,000 homeless people within that same valley. I couldn’t believe it! The percentage we were helping was pathetically small compared to the magnitude of the need. I mentioned this to the shelter’s director and he said, “Yes, but as small as our efforts are, they make a huge difference to the 100 people who we daily feed and provide food and safe shelter for their families.”
It never fails. When I try to bless people by helping out, I inevitably find myself blessed more than those I am supposedly helping. But wait – are their needs real or am I just making them up so I can jump in and feel like a hero? No, some peoples’ situations are desperate and they really do need help. But the depth of humility and satisfaction that God blesses me with exceeds the degree of my contribution by so far that I often wonder – who is really ministering to whom?
Being able to participate in the delivery of real basic needs to truly needy people gives you a sense of gratitude, happiness and thanksgiving for all the blessings in your life. I promise you, by getting involved, you will develop a passion for the needy.
You don’t have to work with the homeless to be a volunteer. There are many worthwhile causes and organizations that serve the community…and they all need your help. Look for an organization you can believe in and figure out a way to serve. You will be blessed…guaranteed!
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:31
And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. Mark 12:33
I want you to share your food with the hungry and bring right into your own homes those who are helpless, poor, and destitute. Clothe those who are cold, and don’t hide from relatives who need your help. Isa. 58:7
Volunteering at your church is another way to serve. There is always something you can help with. What’s also great is that you have the chance to serve every week or just for one event. Get involved. Going to church is not a spectator sport.
So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all
the others. Rom. 12:5
Spend time with extended family and friends:
When we’re young we want to get away from family as much as possible. The older we get, however, the more we realize that we have only one family and good friends are hard to come by. If you’ve ever lost a loved one unexpectedly, you know that every minute you spend with family and friends is precious.
Good friendships take effort. Be sure to set time aside to call or to meet with the people you care about. Humans are not designed to be solitary creatures. We are designed to have fellowship with one another. We’re happiest when we’re with other people. It’s by design.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Rom. 12:10a
Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them–those who are mistreated–since you yourselves are in the body also. Hebrews 13:1-3
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Gen 2:18
Giving quality time to your family:
Spending time, especially quality time with your family (your spouse and kids) is even more important than spending time with your extended family and friends. We tend to take the closest people to us…our spouses and kids for granted. We see them every day so we think that counts as quality time. Well, maybe so – maybe not. Be honest.
Quality time is different than just being in the same house at the same time. Spending quality time with our families takes time and focus and can be a sacrifice sometime. It’s putting our priorities aside to spend time with the other person (s). I’m sure guilty of that at times. I get so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I totally ignore my wife sometime. Even doing something for God can be wrong if it gets out of hand. Especially with our busy lifestyles nowadays, I recommend having designated days and nights that you set aside every week to spend time with your spouse. Balance is key! You will be amazed that overall you will be a happier person when you make yourself available…and you’ll have a better marriage.
Writing this, I realize I’ll have to remember my own advice…or my wife will remind me about this article and maybe even send me a link, so I’m sure to remember to take my own advice.
If you have kids, you don’t have a life…it all about them. In that situation, don’t ignore your spouse. Set time aside to do something together without the kids around.
Spending quality time with God:
I left the most important key for last. Can you know God without spending quality time with Him by reading the Word, praying and seeking His face…not just His hand? I don’t think so.
Think of people we meet when walking our dogs, neighbors, acquaintances, extended family, etc. How well do you know them really? Just think of how much time we have to spend with someone before we intimately know them. It’s no different with God. We are delusional if we think that we know God if we’re not spending time with Him on a regular basis (preferably daily)…doing our best to get to know Him. It’s not enough to go to church on Sunday and then forget about Him the rest of the week.
Getting to know God is NOT just asking Him to fix our problems. We don’t really get to know God by doing that. I’m not saying we shouldn’t pray for God to help us…we should. What I’m saying is that we need to seek God. We need to pray that God would reveal Himself to us…by inviting Him not just into our situation and problems but also into our plans…by surrendering our habits…by reading the Bible…by being with other Christians…by making ourselves available to be used by Him.
Read Galatians 2:20 below again…let it sink in. Our lives are supposed to be a sacrifice. Frankly, we all are so far away from being that true sacrifice…may God help us all. The more time we spend with God, the more we tend to realize what sinners we really are our ongoing need for Jesus. It’s a process of pruning by God.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Success in life is about setting the right priorities…spending time with God should be #1 on our schedule, before anything else, even our own families. GOD – FAMILY – JOB. God promises that if we put Him first, He will take care of everything else. Do your absolute best to not have a day go by when you don’t spend time with Him. If you do, you will discover a whole new level of happiness – called joy…no matter what situation you’re facing.
Here are some Bible scriptures.
The Lord deserves praise! Day after day he carries our burden, the God who delivers us. Proverbs 8:34
Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Acts 17:11
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. Mark 1:35
So that you incline your ear to wise and apply your heart to understanding; Prov 2:2
For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. Prov 4:2
Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, And apply your heart to my knowledge; Prov 22:17
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb 4:16
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8
Keys to happiness exercise:
- Ask God for help (ask Jesus into your life if you have not done so already)
- Schedule your times with God, family, friends and organizations
- Pray to God to give you a desire to know him and serve
- Ask someone to pray with and for you.
- Pray for others in need.
Previous Happiness Lessons:
How to find Happiness – 15 Lesson Series – Overview
How to find Happiness – Introduction
How to find Happiness – Key #1 – A relationship with God
How to find Happiness – Key #2 – Being Thankful
How to find Happiness - Key #3 – Learning How to forgive yourself
How to find Happiness - Key #4 – Learning How to forgive others
How to find Happiness - Key #5 – Living in the present
How to find Happiness - Key #6 – Overcoming fear
How to find Happiness - Key #7 – Giving of your money
May you find happiness through giving of yourself!
Check in next week for another key to happiness. Get notified via e-mail here.