“More Happiness in Giving”
An article specially designed for parents to read with their children
I KNOW a secret. Would you like to hear it? It is the secret of happiness. There are a lot of people who are not happy. They look sad most of the time. They are often the kind of people whose happiness depends too much on what other people do. If someone gives them something nice, they are happy. But they spend most of their life waiting to get things that just don’t come.
Now, here is the secret. The Great Teacher said: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) So, the one who is most happy is not the person who gets gifts, but the one who gives things to other people. Did you know that? Now, that is not the kind of secret that you can’t tell to anyone else. But it is a secret because it is something that not many people really know.
Just think about what it means. Did Jesus say that a person who received a gift would not be happy? No. You like to get gifts, don’t you? And so do I. We are happy when we receive nice things.
But Jesus said that there is even more happiness when we give. And Jesus was always right, wasn’t he?
Jesus knows someone who does more giving than anyone else. Do you know who he is? Jehovah God has given us all the good things that we have. He gives us water to drink. He makes plants grow so that we have food to eat. The Bible says that God gives to everyone “life and breath and all things.”—Acts 17:25.
And Jesus knows that his Father in heaven is happy. The Bible even says that he is “the happy God.” (1 Tim. 1:11) Giving to others is one of the things that makes God happy. And when we give, it can make us happy too.
Now, what is there that we can give to other people? What would you suggest?
Sometimes when you want to give a gift, it costs money. If it is a gift that you get in a store, you will have to pay for it. So, if you want to give that kind of gift, you may have to save money until you get enough to buy the gift.
But not all gifts come from stores. Let me explain. On a hot day there is nothing as good as a cold glass of fresh water. You don’t have to go to the store for it. Yet when you give it to someone who is thirsty, you can have the happiness that comes from giving.
Someday maybe you and your mother can bake some cookies. That can be fun. And when they first come out of the oven, they taste specially good. But what might we do with some of those cookies that would make us even happier than eating all of them ourselves?
Yes, the greater happiness comes from giving. We can have a good time eating some ourselves. But, if we want even more happiness, then we might wrap up some of them and make a gift of them to one of our friends. Would you like to do that sometime?
The apostle Paul was one who knew the happiness of giving. What did he give to other people? He had the best thing in the world to give. He knew the truth about God and about Jesus. Gladly he shared it with others. And he did it without letting anyone give him money for the help that he offered.
One time the apostle Paul and his companion Luke met a woman who also wanted to have the happiness of giving. They met her down by a river. Paul and Luke had come there because they heard that it was a place of prayer. And sure enough, they found some women gathered there.
Paul began to tell these women the good things about Jehovah God and his kingdom. A certain one of them named Lydia paid close attention. She liked very much what she heard. And she wanted to do something to show her appreciation.
Luke tells us: ‘She urged us: “If you men have judged me to be faithful to Jehovah, enter into my house and stay.” And she just made us come.’—Acts 16:13-15.
Lydia was glad to have these servants of God in her home. She loved them because they had helped her to learn about God’s provision for people to live forever. It made her happy to be able to give them food to eat and a place to rest.
So, Lydia’s giving made her happy because she really wanted to give. And that is something that we ought to remember. Someone tells us to give a gift. But if we really don’t want to do it, the giving will not make us happy.
For example, what if you had a bar of candy that you wanted to eat? If I told you that you had to give it to another child, would it make you happy to give it away? But you may have a bar of candy when you meet a friend that you like very much. If you got the idea all by yourself that it would be nice to split the candy bar with your friend, then you would be happy about it, wouldn’t you?
And, do you know that sometimes we love a person so much that we want to give him everything, and not keep back anything for ourselves? As we grow in love, that is the way we should feel about God.
The Great Teacher knew a woman who felt that way. He saw her in the temple in Jerusalem. She had just two small coins; that is all she had. But she put both of them in the box as a contribution or a gift for the temple. No one made her do it. Most of the people did not even know what she had done. She did it because she wanted to, because she really loved God. It made her happy to be able to give.—Luke 21:1-4.
So, there are many ways in which we can give, aren’t there? And the Great Teacher knew that if we gave because we wanted to, we would be happy. That is why he tells us: “Practice giving.” That is, make it a habit to give to other people. If we do that, we will not be sad because of waiting for someone else to do something nice for us. We will be busy at making other people happy. And when we do that, we are the happiest ones of all!—Luke 6:38.
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Kindly consideration for others