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In Defense of Altruism

Staff Member
In Defense of Altruism - December 08, 2005

As I sat at my favorite eating spot on a cloudy and blustery day, I began to let my mind wander about the things of the day. Work, finances, and my family's health were all first and foremost in my mind. That is, until I witnessed a small, but very selfless act.

Three uniformed servicemen came and sat in the booth ahead of me after a long military exercise. Obviously they were worn out from a long and physical morning; each of them wearing military fatigues. Just as they sat down, an employee brought over a plate of very fresh, very hot cookies. The employee said it was a gift from a woman who just wanted to say "Thank you."

Now, choking back the urge to cry and the simultaneous thought of "why didn't I think of that?", I began to wonder what the motivation of that woman was. It is not as if the cookies were essential to the soldiers or that these soldiers would get up and search out the woman who gave them the cookies and give her a huge and very public praise for what she did. So, the only answer I could come up with is love. She loves these soldiers. She cares about them and she just wanted to show her love and appreciation in some small and selfless way. That is truly love without any other motives. That is the kind of love that our Heavenly Father shows us everyday.

Imagine yourself as the recipient of such a gift. It might be small, you might not remember it tomorrow, but today it can change you. This woman's gift may have been small, but one day on the battle field these soldiers will remember that someone loves them, even when the battle is at its worst. God loves you too, even at your worst. God gave his children the ultimate gift of love in His son Jesus Christ. How great is that?

Finally, imagine yourself as the giver. Why did you do it? Because someone showed you love at a most unexpected time? Did you do it because you cared about the well being of the soldier? The answer is all the above. This is the kind of love God gave to you and me when He died on the cross some 2000 years ago.

I am now not so worried about the things I was concerned about when I came into the cafe today. I am more worried now about how I can go about spreading the love of Christ in some small and selfless way. That would be a great way to end my day.

Contributed by Carl Holmes