A radio talk show recently made this amazing claim: Retired men who volunteer one day a week live two-and-a-half times longer than retired men who don’t volunteer at all. Allen Luks, in his book, The Healing Power of Doing Good claims that there is such a thing as a “helper’s high” that describes the emotional well-being experienced by volunteers. He offers evidence that those who serve reap long-term health benefits, “including relief from back pain and headaches, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol and curbed overeating and alcohol and drug abuse.” In other words, serving is just plain good for you.
Consider the story of Ed, a Christian whose life suddenly fell apart. His wife left him, he lost his job and he moved from California to the Midwest. With no money, no place to live he ended up sleeping in his car for several weeks before he finally landed a job at Home Depot and found a cheap apartment. One day he wandered into Willow Creek Church for a service. After the service he was looking around in their bookstore when he was just overcome with his sense of loss and began to weep. One of the clerks noticed him and tried to offer comfort.
After a while, the clerk said, “You need to meet Peaches. She loves to pray with people” and off they went in search of Peaches, an elderly black lady with a perpetual smile who works in their food ministry.
Peaches took one look at Ed and said, “YOUNG MAN, YOU LOOK LIKE YOU NEED A HUG”. She gave him a big hug and then began to pray for him.
When she finished her prayer, she looked at him and said, “You wouldn’t have time to help an old lady would you. I’ve got to prepare a meal for a whole bunch of people this afternoon and I could sure use some help.” So Peaches put him to work peeling potatoes. Turns out Ed had been a Chef in the military and knew his way around an industrial kitchen. He fit right into this ministry.
Day after day, when he wasn’t working his Home Depot job, he was there at the church serving as a volunteer in the kitchen. Ed says, “I just knew I needed to be there. Serving was working on my heart. Healing me”.
I’m convinced this morning that there is no better tonic for the soul. There is no better balm for a broken heart. The greatest cure for depression is to follow the example of Jesus who says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
Do you want to find real joy? Then look for a place to serve. You will be amazed at how God will use it to heal you.
Have a great week!
Tuesday Morning on the Run
Inspirational thoughts from Pastor Barry Lawson