We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. – Winston Churchill
Sincerely giving from the heart fills your life with joy and nurtures your soul. Giving, in whatever way you choose, offers rewards that are of much more value than any gift could be. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “To find yourself, lose yourself in the service of others.”
The truest joy lies in the act of giving without any expectation of gaining something in return. Research and countless years of human history have shown that achieving fulfillment and happiness in life comes from making others happy. In fact, the more you give, the happier you are.
The Compassionate Giver (Luke 10:35)
Luke 10:35 shows us the power of giving through the parable of the Good Samaritan, a man who allowed his day to be interrupted by someone in need. He didn’t permit the inconvenience or expense to stop him. Whatever others may say about his investment in a troubled person did not matter. He gave time, energy, and resources for a man he may have never seen again. This story is not heroic, it’s really just common courtesy. Would we all be stopped in our tracks to show this kind of compassion?
A Story about Giving
The Gift of the Magi is a short story by American writer O. Henry. The story first appeared in The New York Sunday World on December 10, 1905. The story tells of a young married couple who have very little money and between them have only two possessions they consider their treasures: the man’s gold pocket watch, and the woman’s lustrous, long hair.
On Christmas Eve, the woman is anxious to buy her husband a present, but only has $1.87 to spend. Desperate to buy him a gift, she decides to have her beautiful hair cut to sell. She receives $20.00 for selling her hair and buys her husband a platinum chain for his pocket watch.
When the man comes home from work, he notices her hair is gone and she admits to what she has done and offers him the present. Before she can give it to him, however, her husband retrieves a package from his pocket and inside his wife finds a pair of decorative hair combs that she’d long admired, now useless since she’s cut off her hair. Hiding her tears, she has her husband open his gift and after doing so, he tells his wife that he sold his watch to buy her the combs. The story ends with a comparison of the loving couple’s gifts to the gifts that the Magi, or three wise men, gave to Baby Jesus in the manger in the biblical story of Christmas. The narrator concludes that the man and woman are far wiser than the Magi because their gifts are gifts of love, and those who give out of love and self-sacrifice are truly wise because they know the true spirit of giving.
It’s the joy and love that we extend to others that brings true happiness. When we give, we reap the joy of seeing a bright smile, laughter, tears of joy, and gratitude for life.
The rewards of giving are priceless. If you want to have happiness, you need to give happiness. If you want love, you need to give love. It’s in giving that you receive.
Ideas for Giving
Make a plan this year to get your family involved in something that gives them the gift of joy through giving. You can try out several different types of activities and find one that works best for you.
Feed the Needy
A very necessary and familiar way to volunteer is to help out at a soup kitchen or food bank. Holidays are the busiest time at shelters, and help is needed in many different areas. Many places allow families to volunteer together.
Serve a Senior Citizen
Consider reaching out to an elderly person or retirement home. The winter and holiday months can be hard on the elderly and a visit or a helping hand could be just what they need.
Help Furry Friends
For animal lovers, helping out at a pet shelter is an easy choice. Volunteer a few days or just an afternoon to give the regular staff a break and fill in for vacationers.