I must confess that I am a terrible online shopper. I find something that looks like a quality product only to realize later that it wasn’t, or that it didn’t work, or that I should have read more reviews.
I call it “click regret.” It’s that dreadful moment when I realize that the cloak of buyer remorse has fallen over my bank account like a sad blanket. Why did I buy that? What was I thinking? My wife is a lot better than I am at ordering what she needs, so I just try to avoid Amazon all together because, to me it’s just another museum of bad ideas.
Yes, I have regretted many purchases, but one thing I’ve never regretted is the money I gave away.
Scientists are now saying that generosity actually changes your brain, and that generous people are happier people.
Happiness and generosity
One study states: Happiness has been linked to an activation of the ventral striatum, which has been shown to play a role in the brain’s reward system, giving us that feeling of satisfaction when we perform a pleasant activity.
In layman’s terms, generosity makes us happy. But not only does it bless us to give, it also blesses God. He loves a cheerful giver.
Perhaps the greatest adventure you’ll experience is the journey of generosity.
Here are six ways to increase your generosity quotient:
1. Begin with the tithe. Tithing is God’s way of developing our generosity muscles. In the Old Testament, tithing is a start. It’s our way of saying to God, “I trust you with all of my finances.” As it’s been said, the tithe is the one promise in the Bible where God invites us to test Him. “Prove me,” He says in Malachi 3:10.
2. Transfer ownership of everything you have to God. Look around your house and say to God, “These shoes, clothes, furniture, kitchen items and everything else, it’s all yours, God. Thanks for letting me use them all for Your glory.” Go into your garage, “This car is yours, too (as well as those handy tools and lawn equipment).”
Pull out that laptop and hand that over to Him, along with the TV. It’s really amazing to see what transferring the ownership of everything does. It forces you to think about where you drive God’s car, what you watch on God’s TV, and what sites you visit on God’s laptop.
3. Give anonymously. By doing this, you are paper shredding your ego. It’s always nice to get a little boost of pride from someone if they know you gave, but there is something soul-transforming about the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.
When you give anonymously to a person in need, your gifts are incarnational. In other words, people receive it as if it were given from the Lord Himself.
4. Give sacrificially. It’s easy for a millionaire to give a thousand dollars. That’s not sacrifice. Sacrificial giving is dangerous generosity and it’s the kind of gift that touches the heart of God.
We like comfort, pleasure, entertainment and convenience. But when we give sacrificially, we are placed in the position of saying “no” to our earthly desires to make room for heavenly desires.
5. Practice an eternal mindset. I have to confess that I spend money on things that are temporary. In a year, there will be things that I have purchased that will become outdated, unworkable and surprisingly unfulfilling.
In financial investments, you’ve heard it said, “take the long view.” By that they mean 10, 20, even 30 years down the road.
That’s a great plan for financial independence, but Jesus cares about what our investments in generosity will mean 10,000 years from now. When we give our treasures to advance the gospel of Jesus, we are making an eternal impact.
6. Enjoy the ride. It really is an adventure. When we give, we just have better stories than the folks who hoard riches for themselves. When we give, everything is more enjoyable because we become more like God. He is our example. How much did He give? See John 3:16.
Our Father is inviting us on a shared journey. He’s saying, “Why don’t you give me what you have, and I’ll give you what I have. Let’s do this together.”
In reality, God doesn’t need your blessings, but we sure do need His. Once we see generosity as a partnership and a journey with God, it will make our brief time on earth so much more exciting and transcendent.