Altruistic Behaviour

Many people do good things for others, but often they expect something in return.

Esther 6:1-14

Reference: v.3 The king asked, “What great honor was given to Mordecai for this?” “Nothing,” replied the king’s servants who were in attendance. “Nothing has been done for him.” (The Message Bible)

Explore: I can remember that when I was studying psychology, we were asked to explore whether there really was such a thing as an altruistic act. Many people do good things for others, but often they expect something in return. A completely altruistic act is to do something for another without expecting any personal gain. The other day I let three cars into my lane of traffic at a busy intersection. You would think this was altruistic behaviour as I did not gain from the action. However, I felt so good about it afterwards that I did end up benefiting from feeling so good about myself! Maybe it all has to do with intention. If you do something with the intention of getting something in return, then your actions are not altruistic. But if you do something just for the other person, without looking to gain from it, then the action is pure.

Application: When Mordecai alerted the king to an assassination attempt he did not get an immediate reward. His loyalty and integrity lead him to altruism. I would like to think that I act without selfish intent, but it’s not always true. I often do things to get a good reputation, to receive praise, or to feel better about myself. Yet, I follow a God who showed ultimate altruism by giving His only son, not for His benefit, but for the pure advantage of humanity.

Prayer: Lord, help me to show love and kindness without expecting anything in return. May I learn more from you as I continue to receive the rewards from your generous actions. Amen.

When was the last time your actions were truly altruistic?

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This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.