They say, it is better to give than to receive. But who are “they” really, and how do “they” know, because receiving can be pretty awesome.
I still don’t know who “they” are, I just know from my own experience that giving is a powerful and important practice. For us, it is a priority. It also happens to benefit us immensely, although, that is not why we do it.
But if you’re on the fence, here are three outcomes of giving you may want to consider:
One aspect of giving that simply cannot be ignored is the strong sense of gratitude that is felt by the giver. I have personally felt this in my life. When you give to others, either through a charitable organization, a friend or neighbor in need, or through a church, you feel a sense of gratitude for what you do have. When I feel that gratitude, that contentment for my lot in life, I find that I am “needing” less.
I use the word “need” with caution there because it is amazing how quickly a Want can quietly slip into a telephone booth, whirl around a few times, and come out in its flashy cape with a large “N” mounted on its chest. Suddenly that Need appears desirable, noble, necessary, and enticing. But most of the time it’s still a “W”—regardless of what kind of costume it’s wearing.
These false needs that are developed come from what some would call an overexposure to advertising, keeping up with the Joneses and this that and the other. Effective advertising is intended to push us far away from contentment and make us feel the need, need, need,…
But when we give, we feel gratitude for what we have, have, have! That is one strong reason to give. You will be grateful for what you have.
When you give, you are empowered. You instantly become the master of your money’s fate. When you willingly take some of your hard-earned dollars, set them aside, and give them away with no strings attached, you become the Master of your money.
One church I know of does something seemingly counter-intuitive. When they’re helping someone in need financially (providing work, food, clothes, etc.), they encourage the recipient to continue paying their tithes.
Because it is empowering to the individual who, at this time of great need, is probably not feeling too confident in themselves. Giving restores a possibly repressed self-respect and confidence in the person. When they give freely, they are empowered and know that money is not their master. They are ultimately in control. That feeling of control and mastery over money is the key.
When you are giving, you are also empowered with a sense of freedom. You no longer feel you are a slave to your money and/or its obligations. You decide what you will do with your money. And by consciously giving some away, you show money that you don’t need all of it. You can get by on less. That’s so crucial! As soon as you realize that you can truly get by on less than you earn, you are in control!
I don’t know exactly how it works, but it just works. When you give, it is returned to you. It seems to be some sort of perpetuity. It seems to have no limit to its supply. I don’t know if the perpetuity factor comes because you are empowered and become more creative with your resources, or because you are grateful and need fewer resources to have what will bring you contentment, but either way you look at it, giving is a great investment for the giver!
I’m reminded of John Bunyan’s couplet:
“A man there was, tho’ some did count him mad, The more he cast away, the more he had.”
I challenge every reader of this article to set aside an amount you feel is appropriate, and to give it away—no strings attached. Do it anonymously if at all possible. Give enough that you have to sacrifice something for yourself in return. Not only will you be filled with gratitude, and empowered over your money, you’ll also become a bit more selfless. And we could use a lot more of that these days.