A few years ago, my wife and I gave money to a family that hoped to adopt a baby. At the time, we had plenty of money. Then I lost my job, and we were counting pennies. The couple ended up getting sponsored by their church and had enough money for the adoption. Instead of keeping the cash we gave them and buying extra baby items, they decided to bless us back. I never would have asked them to return the money. It was a gift! But they knew what started as a one-way gift could become a boomerang blessing. The money came back at just the right time, and it paid for our mortgage that month. One of the benefits of giving is it’s contagious.The fact that our hearts even desire to give confirms the gut feeling that life is not about ourselves.
1. Give because life is not about you.
There are eight billion people on the planet, and each person tends to be selfish at times. The famous artist Pablo Picasso is often credited with saying, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Picasso understood that life is about what you can do for others. That’s why we write cards, volunteer, or buy birthday presents for kids.
Recognizing that we have the power to uplift others by giving is never more apparent than after a natural disaster strikes. Restaurant owners ship food to hurricane victims. People living far away feel compelled to drive diapers and water to the site of tornado damage. The fact that our hearts even desire to give confirms the gut feeling that life is not about ourselves.
2. Give because you’ll bless others.
My wife got some gift cards for Christmas and decided to go clothes shopping. It’s always her favorite thing because we have three kids, which means most of her shirts feature ketchup stains or some other mark of mom-dom. She picked out a cute sweater and wore it to church the next day. After the service, a friend raved about how cute the new sweater looked, adding, “I would love to have something like that.” The compliment made my wife feel so good she went back to the store and bought this person her own matching sweater. It’s a gesture that only cost $16, but it gave my wife joy to bless an unsuspecting friend.
3. Give because you’ll be blessed too.
In Acts 20:35, Jesus said, “It is better to give than to receive.” The Apostle Paul recalled the quote during the formation of the early church. It was true then, and it’s still true today. If you have ever offered to mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn, or cook for your spouse, or make toiletries bags for the homeless, then you know it’s true. You will get a feeling of joy by doing something for someone else when it’s done out of love and not obligation. The feeling is one of the benefits of giving.
4. Give because it teaches your kids to look outside themselves.
One of my favorite things to do during the year is donate food during Thanksgiving. I organized a food drive last year and pledged to give donated food to a shelter in our town. My kids got to pick out canned goods at the grocery store. I asked friends to give—and they did. I expected to collect a few boxes of cereal and pasta, but we were able to give over 550 pounds of food to the shelter during a critical month of the year. It was a great reminder to my kids about the benefits of giving. It showed them not everyone is blessed with three meals per day without the generosity of others. Now, it’s an annual tradition.
Sound off: What are some other benefits of giving?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Who can we bless this week?”