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What Happens When You Give: Lessons on Stewardship 
by Cito Cruz
One Father’s Day weekend, our family had international students for dinner so I asked everyone what their fathers have given that really meant a lot to them. I was really surprised that none of the things they shared had anything to do with money. When it was time for our youngest son, Karlan, to share; he told this story: “I was on the high school cross-country running team one fall afternoon and I was really cold. So I called my dad if he could drive over and bring me some extra clothes. Not only did he drop what he was doing and brought me extra clothes, but he went the extra mile by going to a sport shop to buy me a new undershirt better-suited for cold weather. My teammates asked, “Your dad would do that for you?” “Oh yeah, I answered. My Dad would have no qualms about dropping everything if I needed him badly. So if you ask me what my dad gave that meant a lot to me, I would say, TIME.” Of course, it choked me up and I was almost in tears. When we think about stewardship in terms of what God wants from us, we usually have money in mind. But there are other things we can give besides money.
However, let’s first examine the benefits of giving and why we should give:
1. Giving has a happiness effect on us. Jorge Moll and his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health, Maryland, found that giving activates the part of the brain connected with pleasure, and social connections also create a “warm glow” effect. Scientists also agree that altruistic behavior such as giving releases endorphins in the brain that produces a positive feeling known as the “helper’s high”. These findings are not new since the Bible talks about this concept. In Proverbs 22:9, it says, "He who is generous is blessed." The Greek word for “blessed” is “makarios” which literally means “happy” or “receiving God’s provision’. Sometime ago, I was at a gas station pumping gas on my car when a sad-looking young lady with an infant strapped in an old Toyota, asked me if I would put $10 worth of gas in her car. She said she just did not have enough money for gas. Without hesitation, I pumped gas in her car. When I drove away, I felt two emotions. I felt euphoria because I did the right thing. But I was also sad because I could have emptied my wallet to give that young woman even more. Giving has a happiness effect on us.
2. Giving has great health benefits. Scientific research and studies have proven that people who give, have improved physical health and longevity because giving helps decrease stress, which is related to a variety of health problems. A 2006 study by Rachel Piferi and Kathleen Lawler found that people who give and provide social support to others had lower blood pressure compared to participants who were not givers.
3. Giving returns the benefits to you in similar or different ways. Several studies by sociologists Brent Simpson and Robb Willer, found that when you give to others, your sense of generosity will likely be rewarded by others in the future, perhaps by the same person you gave to, or by someone else. This truth was long ago written in the Bible. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” So there you are. Biblical truth and scientific research have proof that when you give, the benefits come back to you.
What should we give besides money?
  1. The gift of time. Sometimes, time is more valuable if not as valuable as money. If you earn $50 and hour and you give three hours for service, that’s already $150 worth. If you earn $100 an hour, it doubles.
  1. The gift of encouragement. Every word of encouragement you utter changes a person’s life in a big way.
  1. The gift of love and affection. Every word of love you say and every act of love you do in the name of Christ makes God’s love known in a person’s heart and makes him or her secure, loved, and joyful in the warmth of God’s embrace.
  1. The gift of listening. We talk too much and listen less. How, do you think people feel if we just talk and not listen to them? Your presence would have no significance and God’s Word will have no room in their hearts.
  1. The gift of hospitality- Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
How should we give? We should give cheerfully and sacrificially as the Bible says. And how much should we give? According to Deuteronomy 16:17, “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.”
In conclusion, we should give because God commands us and because it impacts the lives of others and ours as well.
Cito received his degree from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is currently the Director of Global Friends at Colby and Thomas Colleges in Waterville, Maine. Through this ministry, Cito and his family reach out to and spiritually mentor international students from 70 countries.
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