Joy in Giving

STINGINESS describes many people nowadays. They give and expect something in return—a practice that some coaches teach as they encourage the mutuality of relationships. When they make giving like handing a bank check for a gracious smile from the recipient, they see to it that the smile for them, should translate into dollarsor they do not give.

Many who give are like astute businessmen: they only grant something of value if they see a prospective client. Even the so-called corporate social responsibility programs of companies become mere public relations strategies that ultimately redound into more patronage of the product or service and more profit. This is buying, not giving. 

But Saint Augustine once quoted: “Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure;/
Where your treasure is, there is your heart;/Where your heart is, there is your happiness.”

Voluntary actions intended to help another can boost happiness, according to Melanie Rudd and Jennifer Aaker in “Scientific American” blog.  They wrote: “Although acts of kindness directly benefit the well-being of the recipient, they also create a pleasurable “helper’s high” that benefits the giver. For instance,  volunteer work is associated with greater happiness and less depression, and research has shown that performing five random acts of kindness one day a week (for six weeks) can increase your happiness. Moreover, at the end of the work day, if you more strongly feel that your work made a positive difference in other people’s lives, you feel more positively at bedtime. Even research on spending has uncovered similar effects: Those who spend money on others (versus themselves) experience greater happiness. So, telling people to do good things for others appears to be a good strategy for personal happiness.”

According to another author, giving produces endorphins that make us happy. Our brains  are wired to derive pleasure from giving.

I read a heart-warming story about giving from the internet which read: “In the latter part of the 17th century, German preacher, August H. Francke, founded an orphanage to care for the homeless children of Halle. One day when Francke desperately needed funds to carry on his work, a destitute Christian widow came to his door begging for a ducat–a gold coin. Because of his financial situation, he politely but regretfully told her he couldn’t help her. Disheartened, the woman began to weep. Moved by her tears, Francke asked her to wait while he went to his room to pray. After seeking God’s guidance, he felt that the Holy Spirit wanted him to change his mind. So, trusting the Lord to meet his own needs, he gave her the money. Two mornings later, he received a letter of thanks from the widow. She explained that because of his generosity she had asked the Lord to shower the orphanage with gifts. That same day Francke received 12 ducats from a wealthy lady and 2 more from a friend in Sweden. He thought he had been amply rewarded for helping the widow, but he was soon informed that the orphanage was to receive 500 gold pieces from the estate of Prince Lodewyk Van Wurtenburg. When he heard this, Francke wept in gratitude. In sacrificially providing for that needy widow, he had been enriched, not impoverished.”

Bestowing is sowing. I am, however, taught by experience that I must rely on God alone who makes the seeds grow not on my own terms.

Do I give for “crass salesmanship”?

Heaven would not be pleased if I do not apply faith in my giving. Thus, I see to it that when I grant something, I do not lose God’s nod by doing it for a quid pro quo.

“God judges what we give by what we keep,” stressed G. Mueller.