1) It produces joy in your life. It feels good to give to someone or a cause that is truly in need. When you are a blessing to someone else, it produces a type of happiness in you that won’t come from anywhere or anything else.
2) Giving helps you live within your means. If you are giving 5 or 10 percent of your income, it helps you to avoid stretching your own finances to the limit. It forces you to be more precise, focused and planned with the remaining 95 or 90 percent. With less margin for error, you will be less sloppy.
3) It sets an example for your children. When your children see you give, especially giving cheerfully, it will teach them to be generous as well. When you discuss various opportunities for giving with them, it will teach them to be thoughtful and responsible as they decide who or what to support. We all know that our kids will mimic our behavior. Encouraging them to give with their own money now will set up a great habit for the future.
4) It will help prevent money from ruling your life. As we consciously decide to part with a percentage of our money, it helps prevent our heart from becoming like Ebenezer Scrooge’s. It is much harder to make money the center of our personal universe if we are putting money in a better perspective by giving. Other things in life, specifically relationships, are more important than money and we have a chance to impact other people with our generosity.
5) Giving positively impacts the lives of others. As we alluded to at the end of the last point, giving allows you to be a blessing to other people, changing their lives for the better.
6) You receive tax advantages. As long as the charity you are donating to has an approved non-profit tax status, your gift is tax-deductible.
One last note about giving:
When giving, whether to an individual or to a formal charity, we highly encourage you to do some research about the potential recipient of the gift to make sure the gift is used in the manner intended. It doesn’t have to be burdensome or exhausting, but you need to do enough to be reasonably confident that your money is used wisely.
For charitable organizations, this can be done quickly by looking at ratings online. The Better Business Bureau has standards for charity accountability that need to be met before a charity can be a BBB Accredited Charity. Ministrywatch.com provides ratings and summary reports for Christian ministries and charities. Of course, the recipient of the gift is ultimately responsible for using the money wisely, but you can dramatically increase the chances of that with a little effort on your part.
Being Grateful Makes You Happier
Did you know that being grateful is linked to being happy? It makes sense that happy people are more grateful, but what I find most interesting is that research shows that by participating in exercises where you express gratefulness you can actually make yourself happier.
Many times in research there is a disclaimer that says, “correlation does not necessarily mean causation” but in terms of gratefulness research, it seems this may not be necessary. There are reams of research articles available where participants are asked to complete exercises in which they are expressing gratefulness and afterward they are found to be happier.
It works for children and adults. Here are the three types of exercises individuals are typically asked to participate in:
1) Making a list of the things you are grateful for
2) Writing a letter to someone about how grateful you are for them
3) Think about what you are grateful for
Although it seems pretty simple, research shows that it works. Our family set a New Year’s resolution this year in which we write in a gratefulness journal daily. We have lost track of it to some extent in March, but I think we need to start again.
Personally, I have found that being grateful does help my mood. Everyone has tough days, but when we put it into perspective, the day seems easier.
It is such a simple exercise and it can have big impacts. I am grateful every day for the blessing God gave me in my husband. Especially today, on our Anniversary! What are you grateful for? Make a list, write a letter, thank God or do all three. You will likely get a little skip in your step!