Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gratitude, Generosity and Altruism

Last week, I took time to take a fearless and searching inventory of my life. This was largely necessitated by my birthday [I was born on July 05].

More than my birthday, July usually marks the beginning of a fiscal year. I wanted to align the end of several things with the end of June, and the commencement of several others with the beginning of July.
That said, I realized that the easiest way to do all this was to focus on the past, the present and the future.

The Past

"Let the giving of thanks be your sacrifice to God, and give to the Almighty all that you promised."

- Psalm 50:14

Looking back, I realize that mine is indeed a blessed life. Whereas I deliberately avoid comparing myself with others, I never lose sight of the fact that I am immensely blessed.
Whenever I feel like I am inadequate in some small way, I am quickly reminded that I do have that which I currently possess for a reason.

God has abundantly supplied all my needs, therefore I do not want. He has provided all that I need. As I go about life, I realize that the more content I am, the more I have peace of mind to attain my mandate.

The Present

I firmly believe that we live so that we can positively affect others. These others may refer to other people, our environment, our work place, animals under our care and much more. Many have postulated that the "here" and "now" is called the present because it is indeed a gift.

Gifts are things we get, but do not necessarily deserve. In view of this, the least we can do to pay homage to our creator for the present is to simply see it as an opportunity to add value. In my life, I have come to realize that by being generous in life, you lose nothing. In fact, being generous opens the way to blessings.

The Future

With growth comes change. Having appreciated my past, and living the present in the best way I know how, I now sought a way of living that'll ensure I'm happy, satisfied and more than this, fulfilled in life. Looking through my Bible, I came across Romans 12. In my mind, this chapter basically lays down the way to altruistic living. Following is the entire text in Romans 12.
Rom 12:1  I therefore urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God, for this is the reasonable way for you to worship.
Rom 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God's will is-what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.
Rom 12:3  For by the grace given to me I ask every one of you not to think of yourself more highly than you should think, rather to think of yourself with sober judgment on the measure of faith that God has assigned each of you.
Rom 12:4  For we have many parts in one body, but these parts do not all have the same function.
Rom 12:5  In the same way, even though we are many people, we are one body in Christ and individual parts connected to each other.
Rom 12:6  We have different gifts based on the grace that was given to us. So if your gift is prophecy, use your gift in proportion to your faith.
Rom 12:7  If your gift is serving, devote yourself to serving others. If it is teaching, devote yourself to teaching others.
Rom 12:8  If it is encouraging, devote yourself to encouraging others. If it is sharing, share generously. If it is leading, lead enthusiastically. If it is helping, help cheerfully.
Rom 12:9  Your love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
Rom 12:10  Be devoted to each other with mutual affection. Excel in showing respect for each other.
Rom 12:11  Never be lazy in showing such devotion. Be on fire with the Spirit. Serve the Lord.
Rom 12:12  Be joyful in hope, patient in trouble, and persistent in prayer.
Rom 12:13  Supply the needs of the saints. Extend hospitality to strangers.
Rom 12:14  Bless those who persecute you. Keep on blessing them, and never curse them.
Rom 12:15  Rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Cry with those who are crying.
Rom 12:16  Live in harmony with each other. Do not be arrogant, but associate with humble people. Do not think that you are wiser than you really are.
Rom 12:17  Do not pay anyone back evil for evil, but focus your thoughts on what is right in the sight of all people.
Rom 12:18  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people.
Rom 12:19  Do not take revenge, dear fiends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord."
Rom 12:20  But "if your enemy is hungry, feed him. For if he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will pile burning coals on his head."
Rom 12:21  Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.

A Life well Lived

In view of the foregoing, it is my hope that I'll live a worthwhile life. I do believe that my best days are ahead of me, so this shouldn't be a problem if I do the needful.


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