“And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42).
Offering a glass of cold water, sharing food, sacrificing personal resources such as time or physical security, in favor of our fellow men and even more at the expense of one’s benefit are ways of showing altruistic service. The Lord Jesus affirmed that this type of service would be rewarded. How would it be rewarded? What does that reward consist of? Some believe that it is salvation; however, man’s redemption is so costly that it would be impossible to obtain it by our own good acts (Ps. 49:8). We already know that the redemption of the human race is provided as a gift, thanks to Christ’s sacrifice (Eph. 1:7). However, there is a reward for selfless service and science has found a possible explanation.
Interested in the neural manifestations of the acts of service, a group of researchers, lead by the neuroscientist Jorge Moll from the National Institutes of Health of the United States, examined the cerebral activity of nineteen subjects while they were making or refraining from making donations to various NGOs. For that purpose, they assigned to each participant a certain amount of money they could use to make donations as they pleased. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the brain, they noticed intense activity in the cortex of the frontal lobe, a specific area of the human body involved in decision-making. Subsequently, they discovered that when the subjects were donating, the brain activity of the mesolimbic system increased. On the contrary, when the subjects kept the money, the activity of that system decreased.
It must be emphasized that the mesolimbic system has been recognized for its central role in motivation and pleasure. It is usually activated by a series of rewarding stimuli such as food or sex, which stimulate the natural secretion of certain chemical substances capable of providing a general feeling of well-being and satisfaction. Considering that these substances are also secreted during acts of selfless service, we could conclude that the creation of these pleasant organic responses could bring rewarding benefits.
It can be said that the instant and valuable rewards of service are increased feelings of well-being and the joy of offering help to those who are in need. Today, we encourage you to meet the needs of a person close to you. Remember that «whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward» (Matt. 10:42).