At the recent conference I attended on Addiction and Faith, there was a very engaging speaker, Dr. Omar Manejwala.
He has written a book titled “Craving: Why We Can’t Seem to Get Enough.” It is a very informative book about addiction and I highly recommend it for someone who is fighting an addiction or for those who want to understand more about addiction.
In this book there is a chapter on Spirituality and Recovery. Dr. Manejwala sites Stephen Post, Ph.D., who has written a book called “The Hidden Gifts of Helping.”
In a study Dr. Post conducted, he found that older adults showed that volunteerism has been associated with reduced depression, anxiety, and physical symptoms.
Volunteering can also be associated with improved self-esteem, greater happiness, and better morale.
Doug Oman of the University of California at Berkley looked at several thousand older adults and found that there is a 60 percent reduction in mortality as long as they are engaged in some (even minimal) level of volunteering.
A few years later Oman studied 7.000 people, their religious attendance and their cause of death over a 30-year period. He found that although there was no reduction in external causes of death such as accidents, mortality from heart disease, cancer or respiratory ailments were significantly lower in people who attended religious services at least once a week.
In Robert Sapolsky’s book, “Why Zebras Don’t’ Get Ulcers,” he talks about the adverse health effects of stress on addiction, sleep, and illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Worrying makes us sick.
Sapolsky says that spirituality plays a key role in protecting against the negative effects of these destructive emotions.
Jesus was our example of how to be a servant leader. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45) Jesus came to earth to comfort those who were oppressed.
He fed the hungry, clothed the naked and cared for the sick. He showed us all how to love our neighbor. It is hard to experience anger when expressing unconditional love toward another human being.
Jesus showed us how to be helpful to others. Now it is our turn to go out and serve others just as Jesus did.
And, considering the statistics sited above, it wouldn’t hurt for you to attend worship on a regular basis.
Come to worship, hear the word of God, and then go out and serve your neighbor. I think you will be glad you did.