It is hard to find an activity as great as giving. The good is in the benefits that flow from the common behavior known as giving that is possible for everyone, every day. The rewards are many. Giving is an enormously broad activity ranging from simply offering a casual smile, to donating an organ of one’s body, like a kidney, that keeps someone alive. There are endless examples of both simple and profound giving in which we can be involved.
An ages old maxim says “It is better to give than to receive.” And many people have accepted that as guidance from God — instructing us about appropriate living. It was accepted as Lord-pleasing behavior. In other words, blessed living is exhibiting kindness or goodness that helps another person. God blesses such living. That is why it is “better to give than to receive.” It has been regarded as spiritual beauty and strength.
However, there is more to it than that, as true as that may be! We are now realizing that giving something to someone is good for the recipient. No matter whether it is a major gift or a minor one, the benefactor is now a healthier and happier person. It is more than the gift itself that is helpful; being given a gift helps the person emotionally and spiritually.
A gift is medicine for the human spirit, and for the body, too. A gift enhances the health of the one who receives the gift. His heart and blood chemistry are made healthier. His mind is strengthened and cleared. No wonder that we are told it is better to give than to receive — that we are expected to be healers, helpers, enhancers, of other’s lives. Giving is a proven formula for doing so.
Giving need not start with a warm feeling, or a feeling of duty or obligation. Sympathy and compassion may move us toward a caring act like giving, but giving may just be a decision based on a cognitive realization of a need. It may be simply seeing a need or giving a gift because of a thought, a suggestion or a memory. No matter how it starts, it will still be medicine for the recipient, while also helping them with a need they are carrying.
But the guaranteed way that giving helps another person is not the whole story. Giving also blesses the giver. Here is the wonderful surprise that careful research has discovered: there are measurable health and wellness benefits for the giver, also. The receiver is helped—but so is the giver. Givers have been found to show observable, measurable health benefits as a result of, and in the process of, reaching out in a giving way to another person. Our mandate to “love one another” is for the good of ourselves as well as for others. It isn’t just about pleasing the Lord or being good Christians. It is a formula for our own health and well-being.
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At my age ’Getting lucky’ means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for.