The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life.
According to an old Chinese proverb, “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
Similarly, St. Francis of Assisi said that it is in giving that we receive. Leo Tolstoy said that the sole meaning of life is to serve humanity. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” Robert Louis Stevenson said, “You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.” And best of all, Pope Francis said, “Christ leads us to go out from ourselves more and more, to give ourselves and to serve others.”
The value of giving ourselves—our time, talents, and money—is not just a nice proverb or a word of encouragement from a well-known figure. Research tells us that giving is a powerful means to personal growth and happiness. MRI technology has shown that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex. The research shows that when we help someone who is in need, we ourselves experience deep pleasure. Not to mention, countless psychological tests reveal that the more generous a person is, the healthier and more productive he or she is.
Mother Teresa has told us, “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Many of us have limited money. But every little bit helps. We can all find a dollar a week to give away. We all have 168 hours in each week. Rich or poor, sick or healthy, we can all find some spare time to care for someone. Sacrificing our time and our money with a pure heart is the “much love” that Mother Teresa was speaking about.
Many people will say, “I am willing to give if I get something in return.” But this kind of conditional giving limits the happiness we will experience. If we try to give in a way that imitates Jesus’ generosity, we’ll be a lot more content. In fact, we’ll become a lot more like Jesus, who was the happiest, most peaceful person ever. So be Christlike! Be generous!
word among us