by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

(Chapter 12 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Blue Denim and Lace)

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it." Matthew 16:25.

A few days ago in my study I was meditating on the above Scripture when the thought came to me that the only lasting thing one can ever get for himself comes from the leftovers when he gives to others. The strange paradox of the Christian life is that the way up is down; the way forward is backward; and the way to be served is to serve.

This is especially true concerning friendship. It is infinitely better to be a friend than to have a friend. It is better to become something than to obtain something. When one becomes a friend, he will, no doubt, have friends. (Of course, this should not be his motive, or he too will fail.) No one ever found a friend searching for a friend, but many have stumbled upon lasting friendships while being a friend. One should forget whether or not he has friends and concentrate on being the right kind of friend.

The same is true concerning happiness. No one ever charted a plan for personal happiness who found it, but millions have found happiness in the pathway of carrying out responsibilities. Oftentimes people come to my office and say, "Pastor, how can I find happiness?"

I invariably say, "Forget it. Think of the happiness of others. There are so many who have problems so much worse than you. Forget your own happiness. Seek to make others happy, and one day you will return to me and say, `Pastor, in my effort to make others happy, I suddenly, to my surprise, found that I have become happy too!'"

This same truth can be applied to peace of mind. It seems nowadays that in order for a magazine to sell, it must have an article about sex and another about peace of mind. No one can tell anyone else how to have peace of mind, and no one can set out to find peace of mind and find it. When one, however, forgets himself and becomes obsessed with the needs of others, he suddenly realizes he has peace.

Several years ago a lady came to my office stating that she was fearing an imminent nervous breakdown. I suggested that each day he do something for someone else. "Bake cookies and take them to a friend one day," I suggested. "The next day take some roses to the hospital and give a rose to each patient who has no visitor during visiting hours. The next day drop by and see a blind person. The next day take a cake to one of our deaf friends and simply write the words, `I love you,' on a card. continue this indefinitely," I said, "and see if it helps."

Months passed. One day I asked the lady about her proposed nervous breakdown. (It seems that most of the ladies I know are either having a nervous breakdown, just getting over one, or planning one real soon.) "How about that nervous breakdown?" I asked.

"Oh Pastor," she said, "I just got so busy doing things for other people that I had to postpone it." (She had found the answer.)

I think it was R. A. Torrey who came in one day after a preaching mission and hurriedly began preparations for another trip. He had some dirty clothes he needed to have laundered. He asked a young friend if he could take care of this for him.

"What? Do you think I am an errand boy?" said the young friend.

Another young friend stood by who overheard the conversation. "Let me do it," he exclaimed.

The young man did take care of the menial task for R. A. Torrey. His name? Oh, his name was James M. Gray, who one day became the president of Moody Bible Institute.

When we think of success or greatness, we think of giving commands and being obeyed. When we think of greatness, we think of having much. When Jesus thought of greatness, He thought of giving much. When we think of greatness, we think of being served. When Jesus thought of greatness, He thought of serving.

A poll was once conducted in the country of France to determine the greatest Frenchman who ever lived. The experts unanimously predicted, of course, that Napoleon would win by a landslide. The poll was won by a landslide all right, but not by Napoleon, but rather by none other than Louis Pasteur. Once again the servant had won over the served. The giver had won over the receiver, and he who lost his life had found it.

Let us remember that the only thing one can ever obtain for himself comes from the leftovers after he gives to others.


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