Generosity is Proven to be Good for the Giver
“If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8 NIV).
A friend once told me that anytime someone helps another person, two blessings have occurred – blessed is the giver and receiver. For years we have had anecdotal evidence regarding significant improvements to the physical and emotional well-being of those that make a concerned effort to give back to others.
A study published in The International Journal of Psychophysiology indicated that people who give social support to others had lower blood pressure than people who did not. Another study by the National Institutes of Health found that the MRI’s of people who gave to various charities showed increased activity within the “reward center” area of the brain. Stimulation of this area triggered the release of endorphins, which gave the subject a pleasant feeling, that’s known as a “helper’s high.”
Most of us want to avoid high blood pressure and experience a “helper’s high.” Some avoid helping others because they feel to do so requires an abundance of money and/or free time.
Generosity does not have to be a big event. There are many easy and budget-friendly ways to give back to your community. Below are a few ideas. I urge you to talk to your pastor and friends and see what unique opportunities exist in your community.
- Pray for the poor and homeless in your community and across the world.
- Deliver cookies or a meal to a local fire station.
- Create care packages for the homeless. Items can include essentials such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, granola bars, and water.
- Visit a nursing home and hand out cards or simple gifts like books, lotion, or mints. I know a sweet lady that has a great voice and she sings each week at a nursing home.
- Donate your children’s outgrown and gently used winter clothing to a local school or shelter.
- Bring canned food, clothing, or a small monetary donation to your church or a local charity.
Giving back during the holidays is a great way to make people feel included and cared for, but generosity doesn’t need to be limited to the brief period between November through January. When charity becomes a regular, and even daily, habit it can contribute to a longer and happier life.
Our generosity is the fruit of our relationship with Christ. Generosity is both a natural confidence builder and a natural repellant of self-hatred. By focusing on what we are giving rather than on what we are receiving, we create a more outward orientation toward the world, which shifts our focus away from ourselves. We are called as Christians to have an outward focus on life and we do that as we are generous with the blessings that God has given us.
Dear God: Help us to be cheerful givers so we may sow generously and reap generously. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist under the direction of the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is currently in training to become a Lay Minister under the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He enjoys writing inspirational Christian blogs at ToddShupe.com and Todd-Shupe.com.