Generosity in Exchange for Happiness (365 Days of Daring Faith — DAY 296)
Acts 20:35b (NLT)
You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
How do you define happiness? Some people define happiness by how much money they have, how big their house is, or the make and model of their car. Other people think of happiness in terms of how many friends they have or their social standing in the community. Still other people determine their level of happiness by the weather, their feelings, or what someone said or didn’t say to them or about them.
However, God defines happiness very differently. Happiness in God’s world is determined by how much you give. The more you give, the more joy and happiness you receive. The blessings that come from happiness are worth so much more than material gain and social evaluation. Generosity deepens your happiness, lifts your spirits, and increases your well-being.
A lot of times during the Christmas season particularly, we hear a lot of talk and advice about giving. Much of that thought however is undergirded with the assumption that one is to also receive. It’s like a give and take. I give you this so you can give me that. You give me that so I can give you this. But this isn’t the giving God is talking about. God wants us to give expecting nothing in return. But the hidden blessing behind all heartfelt and genuine giving is that it doesn’t leave you with nothing. It perpetually comes back around to you.
Too many people, believers included, never learn that true happiness comes from giving freely even as we have been given grace freely by God. It’s a simple lesson but it is a paradoxical one. In our human minds, we don’t expect that we will receive more if we give more. We’d think that the more we obtain, the more we should keep and that’s how we always have the most. Getting, getting, getting isn’t the way to true peace or happiness or contentment. It’s more like the way to stress, anxiety, and overwhelm.
When you learn to relish in the sunshine and joy of watching other people unwrap their gifts and turning the spotlight on others who are able to receive because you were willing to give, you are growing up. You are growing into full spiritual maturity. You’ve realized it’s not about you for the same reason Jesus didn’t think his death on cross was about him. He did it for the whole world.
This is how we should live our lives. It is a shame to see people past the age of 50, 60 and 70 who still think life is all about them. Some of these people still think their existence is all about what they can get out of it or how they look or how people perceive them. Life isn’t about you or me. It’s about the grace we’ve been given and the responsibility we have to extend that grace to other people. Practice being generous and you will see your happiness increase and your heart overflow with blessings.
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
— Kahlil Gibran