From Jonathan Edward’s sermon Love is Contrary to a Selfish Spirit —


In seeking the glory of God and the good of your fellow creatures, you take the surest way to have God seek your interests and promote your welfare. — If you will devote yourself to God, as making a sacrifice of all your own interests to him, you will not throw yourself away. Though you seem to neglect yourself, and to deny yourself, and to overlook self in imitating the divine benevolence, God will take care of you; and he will see to it that your interest is provided for, and your welfare made sure. You shall be no loser by all the sacrifices you have made for him. To his glory be it said, he will not be your debtor, but will requite you a hundred-fold even in this life, beside the eternal rewards that he will bestow upon you hereafter. His own declaration is, “Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundred-fold” (the other evangelist adds, “in this present time”), “and shall inherit everlasting life” (Mat. 19:29); and the spirit of this declaration applies to all sacrifices made for Christ, or for our fellowmen for his sake.

If you are selfish, and make yourself and your own private interests your idol, God will leave you to yourself, and let you promote your own interests as well as you can. But if you do not selfishly seek your own, but do seek the things that are Jesus Christ’s, and the things of your fellow-beings, then God will make your interest and happiness his own charge, and he is infinitely more able to provide for and promote it than you are. The resources of the universe move at his bidding, and he can easily command them all to subserve your welfare. So that, not to seek your own, in the selfish sense, is the best way of seeking your own in a better sense. It is the directest course you can take to secure your highest happiness.

If you place your happiness in God, in glorifying him, and in serving him by doing good, — in this way, above all others, will you promote your wealth, and honor, and pleasure here below, and obtain hereafter a crown of unfading glory, and pleasures forevermore at God’s right hand. If you seek, in the spirit of selfishness, to grasp all as your own, you shall lose all, and be driven out of the world at last, naked and forlorn, to everlasting poverty and contempt. But if you seek not your own, but the things of Christ, and the good of your fellowmen, God himself will be yours, and Christ yours, and the Holy Spirit yours, and all things yours. Yes, “all things” shall be yours; “whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:21, 22).