Unselfish Labor for Others

Troy (N. Y.) Press

A recent editorial in the Sentinel contained a thought which has stayed in my memory ever since I read it. It was, in substance, that we must not live for ourselves, nor even for others, but for God. In the old thought, to live for others seemed to me to be the goal for which all should aim, and that to be always trying to please those around us and make them happy was the greatest unselfishness. It was not till I came into Christian Science that I began to see the worthlessness of this so-called unselfishness; to see that to live for God and to live for others (in the old sense of the expression) were two very different things. To some it is a pleasure always to be doing things for other people and trying to please them, it makes them happy to be liked by every one and to be thought unselfish, and so they are not denying themselves at all but pleasing themselves, and all the time being deceived into thinking they are unselfish.

When we make up our minds to try to live for God, then we begin to be tested as to how far our unselfishness is genuine. Are we willing to sacrifice ourselves even when we receive no love or gratitude in return? Are we willing to risk people's displeasure for the sake of benefiting them? There is often much more unselfishness in withholding something from those we love than in indulging them. Are we ready to face their disapproval by sticking to a course which we feel to be right? Do we not often yield to those around us just for the sake of a quiet life or to avoid a scene; from laziness more than from unselfishness? Lately I have often come to the point where I have had to choose between pleasing God or pleasing man.

Although living to please others does not necessarily mean living to please God, yet if we are living for God alone it must follow that we are living for the good of others, though to their sense it may seem otherwise. The Master gave his life for the whole world, and yet he did not always please them. We must learn the true unselfishness and love that he had,—love that does not encourage selfishness in those whom it is lavished upon, or teach them to lean and depend upon us, but turns them away from themselves and us to God, who alone can supply all their needs. To deny ourselves utterly, as Jesus commanded, is to be absolutely governed by God, to do everything with reference to Him, not with reference to persons, and to be able to say from our hearts. "Not my will, but Thine, be done."

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

March 7, 1901

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.