Jesus at sunset


Posted by

Friends, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be truly kind, giving, and selfless. I worry a lot that my motivations might be selfish, so I will be reflecting on that and trying to make sense of it in this post.

My main worry is that I cannot do anything without my own happiness being the motivation. Even if I am devoted to being generous and helping others, it is so I will feel better and reap eternal rewards.

I don’t think I’m alone in these motivations behind being generous. I think the same is true of many if not all people of faith.

I remember Paul the Apostle wrote something about how our present sufferings will not compare to the glory that will be revealed in us, so I think Paul was focused on the rewards he and others would get for doing good. Was he selfish, then?

Say I were to try to put others first in every moment. Immediately, conflict would arise because it’s impossible to be perfectly giving to everyone equally. For example, if I ring my father to ask him what I can do for him and then my sister calls my phone wishing to speak with me, I have to make a decision to put one or the other first, don’t I?

How about if I’m walking down the street and there are five people begging. How can I be generous to all of them equally? It seems we must all make decisions about how, when, and why to be generous, and in making these decisions, some people will inevitably feel let down. Am I correct?

I was having a conversation with a lovely guy on the ward, who said to me when he prays he asks God if he can suffer in the place of his family members. I was deeply touched by this, and wondered whether I could ever be so loving and giving.

But then I thought about it and thought of Jesus, and I said to my friend that he doesn’t need to take on the suffering of his family members because Jesus suffered for all humankind. This thought process helped me to realise what a truly amazing saviour Jesus is.

Life is almost never black and white. But what I plan to do is attempt to be a generous person, putting others first and keeping the golden rule in mind, but also thanking Jesus for my salvation and asking God for forgiveness in Jesus’ name when my conscience tells me that I have been selfish.

I can have the hope of forgiveness and a life free from guilt and shame because Jesus suffered in my place. Thanks be to God.

I’m sure there is much more that could be said on this subject. Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts.


  1. Hi Steven!

    I was in a group discussion about altruism and I said that I enjoy helping people, giving them joy and laughter. A Roman Catholic participant voiced her opinion that this was not altruism since I got enjoyment too. I asked her if she saw a difference between someone who cut a piece of cake for themselves and another who cut pieces for everyone else first and then themselves and enjoyed doing this.

    Generosity by giving quality time to others is important. Its value is not lessened by your enjoyment of this activity, in my opinion.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I, too, struggle with my motivations. I have realized that putting my agenda second to those around me provides a more selfless attitude. Focusing on others’ needs and wants first seems to help. Will we ever be as selfless as our Lord? Of course not, but we can be more conscious of the lives we encounter.  Well written and thought-provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.