1 Timothy 6:17-19

Marty and Annette are the kind of people you want to be around all the time. They are humble, happy, and helpful. We became friends because my primary job was coordinating volunteer service opportunities through our church, and they helped with almost everything we did. While Annette registered people to receive free clothing, Marty assembled sack lunches and gave them out. On Thursdays, after volunteering all morning, they came back to help in the evening by serving diners at our weekly community banquet. When our city needed us to provide emergency overnight shelter for persons who were homeless, it didn’t surprise me when they were the first ones on the scene to help set up.

It’s hard for me to say whether people like Annette and Marty volunteer because they are happier people to begin with, or if their service to others is what makes them happier people. Research seems to indicate that both answers are true. Studies describe the positive feelings that people get by helping others as a “helpers high.” Additional studies indicate that we are more likely to help others if we feel good about ourselves. This positivity feedback loop is the kind of catch-22 that we would all do well to get trapped in.

In writing to Timothy, Paul not only seems to understand this loop, but also ordains it as the way that God intends for it to be. Doing good fosters generosity, while generosity prompts us to do more good. And by doing good, we are able to take hold of the life that really is life (v. 19). Where are you in this loop right now?


If you wanted to be the first person that someone thinks about when they are writing a devotion on doing good, what things would you be doing today?


God, as I go through the day, prepare me to share, open me to be more generous, and draw me into the life that really is life. Amen.

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