When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “…If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you….If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. John 13:12-17 (ESV)
Jesus said we are happier if we are serving than being served. Now He doesn’t need to boost his credibility by needing scientific research to back up his claims. Nonetheless, I found it fascinating to read about research that confirms this in Carol Anderson’s recent blog, “The Psychology of Giving: New Research Provides Surprising Insights.” She writes:
“Elizabeth Dunn, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia…studied a group of employees before and after receiving profit-sharing bonuses. The research team was interested to know if choices regarding how an economic windfall was spent would also affect happiness. One month before receiving their bonuses, the employees were asked to report annual income and general happiness. Then approximately six to eight weeks after receiving their bonuses, the participants were asked to report their level of happiness again and how they spent their bonuses: on themselves (bills, expenses, and gifts for themselves), or on others (gifts for others and donations to charities). Analyses of the data again demonstrated no relationship between personal spending and happiness, while spending on others was shown to be a significant predictor of happiness.”
If we grasp, believe and put into practice the truth that we are more blessed if we use our money—and time and energy—to serve others instead of focusing on pursuing our own happiness, the paradox is that we will truly be more happy!
Here is a link to Carol’s blog post:
Here is a link to a 15-minute video of a presentation of her research by Dr. Dunn. I have been thinking about it a lot since I watched it; you may find it to be a great investment of your time to watch it. Be careful, it could change your life!