(Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash)
I love finding out that our current advances in research constantly is in alignment with what was written millennia ago in our Bibles. Last week I found out that research shows that giving money away is a better predictor of happiness over time than spending money on ourselves. This is how Jesus put it in Luke 12:32-34:
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
After teaching on worry and how God provides generously for us, Jesus states to "Sell your possessions and give to the poor." I used to read this as, "God really hates us having stuff!" But now I have this deeper understanding that Jesus was trying to point out how we have been designed. So many of us think that things will make us happy, but they don't! They give us temporary pleasure, but not true happiness. With this now backed up by current research, I believe that Jesus wasn't being inflammatory or trying to get a reaction, but rather he was graciously pointing out that some of us (perhaps many of us) have got things backwards.
We accumulate more and more stuff thinking that it will satisfy, but find ourselves in the cycle of needing more. When we de-clutter our lives we find space to decide what is truly important. In Luke 12:15, Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” We don't find our lives in more for ourselves.
Where we do find life is in greater generosity. This is how we have been designed! Research is also now showing that deeper happiness comes from living a meaningful life that looks to others' betterment rather than our own. When we come in alignment with our design, we unlock deep happiness that allows us to flourish.
How are you living generously today?