Evidence suggests that two ways to reduce feelings of worry, anxiety, and depression are: 1) to stop focusing on ourselves and instead focus on others, and 2) be thankful for what we have been given. When we focus all of our care and concern on someone else or on a cause bigger than ourselves… or when we give thanks for what IS good in our lives… we simply don’t have time or energy to be selfish!
It’s no surprise that the Christian life is meant to be lived for God and others in gratitude. It’s a mission! A large part of God’s will and purpose for the church is to reach out into the wider community and serve needs, bring hope, stand for justice, extend mercy, and communicate the Good News of Jesus by word and deed. We do this because God first reached out to us, served us, brought hope to us, extended mercy to us in Jesus Christ! Giving ourselves and our resources fully to this mission frees us from the petty concerns of a self-centered life.
The Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed is a Kingdom that runs on the currency of kindness, generosity, and service. Jesus himself was on this mission to give and serve those in need. He in turn sends his followers (we who are Christians) out with this same message and mission:
After this the Lord appointed seventyothers and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:1-9)
May you be filled with thanksgiving and free from worry on God’s mission to extend and expand the Kingdom of God!