Well-being – what is it? My dictionary defines it as, ‘a good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterised by health, happiness, and prosperity.’
It has a single mention in the New Testament: ‘Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being (1 Corinthians 10:24 NKJ).’ In the Authorised version, ‘well-being’ is translated ‘wealth’. The words ‘well-being’ and ‘wealth’ are in italics, which mean they have been added to the original Greek texts to help with their understanding.
In the Authorised version’s Old Testament the word for ‘well-being’ is ‘welfare’, e.g.,‘And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive (Genesis 43:27)?’
This age in which we live, particularly in the western world, is a materialistic one. The aim of many is to acquire as much wealth and possessions as they possibly can. However, there are people who by nature are altruistic. They are concerned for the welfare of others. Such people may initiate a conversation with the words, “How are you?” The question is genuine, with the purpose of finding out how the addressee is – Is he happy? Is he well? Is he in need? Is he prosperous?
If a non-Christian is concerned for the well-being of a stranger, friend or relative, how much more should a Christian be concerned? What does the Bible have to say about it?
Material prosperity in itself is not a desirable objective (1 Timothy 6:6-10). It is far better to have an inward contentment with the peace of Christ (Romans 1:7; Philippians 4:7; 1 Peter 5:14; 2 John 1:3) and an assurance of salvation. It is better to know one is loved by Jesus (John 15:9), for He gave Himself for His elect, so that they may live in His Father’s kingdom of love.
‘God is love (1 John 4:8).’ If we do not keep His word, we do not truly love Him (1 John 2:5),’ and we are not Christ’s. He does not reign in our hearts. We might be concerned for our relatives, our friends and for those who are suffering, those who are poor etc……… We might work for this and that charity, but if we are not Christ’s we cannot share His love with others. And this love is the very reason why we have concerns for others. It is not of us, but of Christ, and of His Spirit – the Holy Spirit.
Being concerned for the physical and mental well-being of others is natural, especially if there is a bond of affection between them. For example, in the case of a mother for her children, more often than not, she will have a maternal affection for them. She will want to protect, encourage and teach them. In the course of time she will want them to be able to stand on their own two feet. Subconsciously she may want them to practise her ethical and moral values. On the other hand she may want them to discover ‘who’ they are, and for them to be ‘themselves’ with an understanding of their uniqueness.
That’s all very well, but how is the Christian different? A Christian is not of this world. His or her main desire is to ‘*do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).’ As Christ gave His life for His sheep (John 10:15), a Christian should be willing to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16). In laying down his life, that is actively being unselfish, putting others before themselves, losing their life and gaining another, they are constantly concerned for the welfare of others. They are motived by the love of Jesus who unselfishly gave His life for them so that they may have new life in Him by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8, 16; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
* Do All to the Glory of God