Grateful giving

November 20th, 2018

Thanksgiving week is here! Many American families will enjoy a big meal together, watch football, nap off their food coma and perhaps participate in a time of sharing what everyone is thankful for as they sit around the table. During Thanksgiving, we pause to offer thanks, yet we often forget about the “giving” part! While we practice gratitude during this season of thanks, it’s important to keep in mind ways we can also give generously to bless others.

The generosity paradox

Jesus says in Matthew 16:25: “All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will find them.” At first glance, this statement sounds absurd, but social science confirms Jesus’ statement when it comes to the topic of generosity. In the book The Paradox of Generosity by sociologists Christian Smith and Hillary Davidson, they state that generosity is a paradox — because when we give we also receive. What do we receive? The University of Notre Dame conducted a five-year research project on the topic of generosity: It involved surveying two thousand Americans along with in-depth interviews. The research proved that the more generous Americans are, the more happiness, health and purpose in life they enjoy.

Half full or half empty?

Researchers realized two-thirds of Americans believe it’s important to be generous, but almost half of the U.S. population give no money to charity at all. They also learned that those who were not very generous viewed the world through a lens of scarcity, discontent and insecurity. Those who practice generosity regularly viewed the world through a lens of abundance, blessings, gratitude, enjoyment and security. Davidson and Smith believe Americans aren’t as generous as they think because our culture pushes messages of scarcity and fear. Instead, God invites us to view the world through the lens of abundance and gratitude, trusting Jesus, the greatest giver of all time. This week let’s focus on ways we can be more generous with our money, time, resources, service, care, or whatever we have to give.

Question of the day: What have you given away to bless someone else in need?
Focal scriptures: 2 Corinthians 9:6-8; 2 Corinthians 9:10-15; Mark 10:17-31

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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