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What Motivates Selfless Acts?

In a world of self-interest, it’s unusual to see someone motivated to help another person without regard to what they’ll get in return. Sure, you can easily find this type of behavior between lovers, between family members, and between friends. But when you find someone who is willing to stop to fix a stranger’s flat tire, or who is willing to give away their gloves to a homeless person standing in the snow, or who donates their bone marrow to a perfect stranger, that gets your interest up.

What motivated that? What’s in it for them?

If these selfless people are Christians, the motivation often can be a thankfulness to Christ. The only way to understand it is to put yourself in their shoes. If the Christian has formed a personal relationship with the still-alive but invisible person named Jesus, then they realize just how much Jesus has done for them. Jesus died on the cross in payment for our sins, and earned us an open door to be welcome to live with Him and His Father, God, in heaven for eternity, if we but accept it. Further, if we continue to mess up, and sin again and again, Jesus will continue to forgive us if we say to Him we are truly sorry and intend to change (Acts 2:38, Matthew 18:22). He gives us more chances than any human would. That’s a pretty big present. How could you receive a bigger one? When you’ve gotten that much, you are grateful, and you want to return the favor.

Jesus told us very clearly how we can return the favor to Him: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

To read true stories about real Christians who have performed selfless acts, go to the Wtness.org site’s category titled “Selfless Acts”.

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