A recent article (shared with me by a member) cited that giving makes people happy. Giving of our time and resources make us happier people. Is it true?
After my Dad’s passing, Mom sold the family home, moved in with my brother, and distributed the proceeds of the sale to her children. We sat together at the Applebee’s in Wilmar, where Mom delivered four checks to her children. Mom was an accounts payable clerk in her profession and she had accounted carefully for previous debts owed to her by each of us, which were forgiven through her act of generosity. She then took the amounts of forgiven debt and distributed that money four ways. My mother had a resource she wanted to share and she shared it wildly with us. It was extravagantly generous. And she was downright giddy that day, even paying for lunch on top of the extravagant gifts she had just given.
I was a young parent at the time. There were debts to pay off (beyond what I had borrowed from my parents during college) and there were living expenses that left us with little disposable income. I had to think and pray about this gift my mother had given us and how it might be used in my family. But I did not have to think about or even pray about one thing I knew I was going to do with it. My first response to this gift was joy in knowing that I was going to tithe (give 10%) of the gift my mother had given me to something or someone else. With overwhelming joy, I funded an upgrade to the youth room at the local church to make the space modern and engaging and fun. Watching my lead, my brother bought some additional items for the youth room from his gift as well. We had so much joy being able to do this thing for others.
Yes, giving makes people happier. It made my mother exuberant. It brought my brother delight. It gave me unbelievable joy!
If you haven’t had the opportunity to test this theory, I would encourage you to do so. Take some of what God has given you (time or resources) and give it away. You will find yourself filled with joy and blessing. You will discover you are happier. Because the life that is truly life is found when we give away what we have been given and learn to trust in God more fully.
So be it in my life and in yours!
Pastor Becky Jo Messenbrink