Have you wondered why most of us never truly experience true satisfaction and contentment?
We live in a world where acquisition defines most of our decisions. Much of what we think and do, even to the extent of pursuing happiness, is directed by how much gain there is for us. Have you ever heard the saying, “What is in it for me?”
Yet in spite of what or how much we possess, it never seems to bring true and lasting happiness. It is as if we are living a life of illusion: It’s like chasing the wind. Before you can catch it, it is gone. The advertising firms are never in short of new products and new ideas that promise happiness. We seem to be looking in the wrong direction of life. Could there be another way?
The scriptures state that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35 NKJV). What does this really mean and is it possible to live in such contra-flow while all of society is geared toward consumerism and acquisition.
Psychologists and economists have been investigating factors that promote wellbeing and have come to discover –surprise surprise, that one of the factors that can improve your wellbeing is whether you live pre-dominantly a life of giving or a life of receiving. In essence their findings suggest that people are more likely to experience true happiness when the main goal of their actions is to make other people happy rather than themselves. In other words, people find happiness in the process of trying to make others happy.
Is this not what the life and teaching of Jesus is all about? Ultimately he demonstrated this by laying down his life for the sins of all mankind, the highest form of giving that ever occurred in human history.
Why is giving good for your mental health? Research by the Center for Well-Being found that giving, sharing and helping is good for your mental health because:
1. Such behaviours are associated with an increased sense of self-worth and positive feelings.
2. Giving to your community in activities such as volunteering is associated with a sense of purpose and more meaning in life.
3. It leads to greater life satisfaction.
I hope this article has influenced you in some way so that next time when you find an older person on the bus without a seat you will give them yours. Not just because the research says so. Indeed the research we have now only confirms the truth of the Word of God that says “It is better to give than to receive.”