Pentecost 12


I never expected the type of comments I have gotten from this series.  Apparently doing good is not very popular.  Someone even pointed to the Republican candidate for President as an indication I should not have written this series.  I can understand their thinking, I suppose, since the candidate does very little except loudly belittle others and that is not considered doing good, except for himself.  Still, I am going to continue.  Call me a Pollyanna or someone who believes in the innate goodness of man.  That’s perfectly acceptable to me because I do… believe in the innate goodness of mankind.


Science backs me up on that belief as well.  Over fifty scientific studies have revealed that goodness, whether we are giving or receiving, helps us live longer and live healthier.  In 19456 a research team from Cornell University followed four hundred and twenty married women who had children.  Their assumption was that women with more children would die at an earlier age than those with less children because more children meant more stress.  They did not prove their hypothesis.  Instead they discovered that the number of children, socio-economic status, education levels, and employment status did not affect longevity at all.  After following these women for over thirty years one thing did stand out:  fifty-two percent of the women who did not volunteer or do good on a regular basis suffered a major illness.  Of those that did not volunteer regularly, only thirty-six percent suffered a major illness or terminal condition.


Two other studies backed up this discovery that volunteers lived longer than non-volunteers.  Yet another study showed a reduction of forty-four percent among those that volunteered a great deal which was greater and more positive results than those who exercised at least four times each week.


One way that volunteering can help you live longer is that it alleviates stress.  Stress causes a variety of negative things in our bodies but volunteering seems to combat that and helps us withstand stress in a more positive fashion.  Doing altruistic things helps us release positive hormones in our brains which in turn do good things for our bodies.  In summary, doing good not only helps the recipient but also the giver.  Voltaire once said “Every man is guilty of all the good he didn’t do.”  We only get one chance to live today.  We need to make it count.  And don’t go do something just to toot your own horn or seem to be better than you are.  The truth will come out.  Generosity comes from a giving, loving heart, not from a desire to be noticed.  Albert Einstein said it best:  “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

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