In my youth, so many of my heroes were assassinated. One of them, Martin Luther King Jr,. said many pithy things that have gone forward without him to touch the future.
One of his pithy statements came to my attention once again today. He said: Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?
This has come up in many times and places in my life, even before he said this. I was the unusual child who sent her allowance every other week to CARE because I heard $5 would feed a family of 4 in Africa for a month. In youth group, we rolled bandages for the lepers in India. I talked our group into adopting a Korean War orphan. Well you get the idea.
Much later, when I was a minister, when a depressed person came to me, I used to say that depression is the opposite of expression. When one is depressed, the energies are turned inward and are not expressing outward to be a blessing to others. So, I would ask my counselee to make a list about what they might be able to do to help others and then start. Go down the list and keep going until the list was covered, and by that time the passion for service would likely be alive and well and the life force of the person would not be turned inward.
There are other ways we turn the life force inward beside depression, at least it seems so to me. One area is the ego. If I do good and want attention and credit for it, the life force is focused on self and not on doing good itself. If I have to be the center of attention, I try to focus not only my life force inward but also try to get others focused on me too. If I act in such a way as to make myself seem less in order to get others to disagree and tell me how wonderful I am, I'm focusing inward. If I act as if I am a superior to others in anyway, I'm trying to get others to turn to me too and boost up my wobbly ego. That's just a few examples. You can add your own.
Somehow, each of us at some point feel compelled to blast through the inward focus and drop the need to turn the life force inward. We begin to see that it is like Jesus said when he told his listeners that whatever good they do for others, they also do for him. The pureness of Service opens and we no longer focus our entire life force to self, but to the greater Self.
Each person has something to give that would be a blessing to others. Let us do our best to be a beneficial presence here on earth and be awake to opportunities of service that come to us. Dare to look outward and upward. Besides it is so much fun. It isn't fun to focus all to self, and it certainly doesn't lead us to be the best we can be and to be the person God created us to be.
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