Is it possible to perform a selfless deed? We see the selfless Savior lay down His life for us, this indeed was a truly selfless act, but are we capable of doing the same? Modern psychologists and philosophers argue that there can be no such thing as true altruism. That so-called good deeds are tools of selfishness and self-preservation because these acts lead to pleasant feelings of pride and satisfaction, there is an expectation of honor or reciprocation or obtaining a place in heaven. Yet, the Word of God compels us to:

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory: but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2:3-4.

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2.

As followers of Christ, we have a duty to perform selfless deeds. We are to take up our crosses and follow Christ. We are to act like Him and bear the burdens of others. But how do we do this without selfish motivations? The key is love. A true love for God, will compel us to perform truly loving acts for others, without the expectation of something in return. “But love ye your enemies, and do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return…” Luke 6:35.

The Bible says that “All our righteousness are as filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6. There is no good thing in us that will urge us to right doing. In our own selves we can do nothing but make a shipwreck of our life and the lives of others around us. When we fully surrender ourselves to Christ, any good deed that springs into our heart is the Holy Spirit’s doing. It is Christ working through us when selfless deeds take place.

In the history of Christendom there have been many examples of such selfless acts, for instance William Carey was an English missionary to India. He was a humble apprentice to a shoemaker. When he committed his life to Christ he went to India as a missionary. A motivated learner, he taught himself Latin, Hebrew and Greek. He is the founder of the Baptist Missionary Society and influenced many to missions. However, this was not without many sacrifices, he struggled financially giving much to the work. He faced threats from gangs, tigers and cobras. He lost one of his children to dysentery after which his wife’s mental health deteriorated. She never recovered and remained mentally ill until her death. Through all this William persevered. He said that “I was once young and now I am old, but not once have I been witness to God’s failure to supply my need when first I had given for the furtherance of His work. He has never failed in His promise, so I cannot fail in my service to Him.”

Carey’s service is evidence of the Holy Spirt taking control of his life. His love for Christ helped develop true charity which “suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things…” 1 Corinthians 13:3-7.

We must remember that it is not us that performs the good deeds, it is Christ working through us. We must also keep humble knowing that all these good deeds, do not make us deserve heaven more than anyone else. Our seat in heaven is a gift from God. One of the pioneers of the SDA church, JN Andrews said “My best acts have had some trace of selfishness in them or have been lacking in love toward God and man.” Let us examine our own motives and works. Are our good deeds mingled with selfishness too?

God Bless,
Solange Lansiquot
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