You’re so cute when you’re generous.

Hymns Children Generosity

Hymns Children Generosity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning in the Wall Street Journal, president of the American Enterprise Institute Arthur Brooks says generous givers are happier, healthier, and better looking than the less charitable.

He also claims America gives more than other prosperous countries like Denmark and Israel. Not only is it good news for those receiving, but it’s good news for those giving. Brooks says,

American generosity is internationally exceptional and generally amazes foreigners, especially those from the social democracies across the Atlantic.

As a European acquaintance once asked me, “What’s in it for you?”

A reasonable question. Leave aside for a moment the metaphysical rewards of giving; as a social scientist would say, they are “empirically untestable.” Here in this mortal coil, does giving boost our odds of living longer and healthier lives? Will it make us more attractive? If we fail to donate, will others think we were raised by wolves?

The answer to all these questions is “yes.”

Giving make us more attractive? Yep. Brooks cites a study that finds women are more attracted to men who give more, and it’s no wonder why we’re attracted to it. Generosity is widely accepted as a desirable trait, but from a Christian perspective, generosity means so much more than a good deed.

The ultimate example of generosity is God the Father giving of himself through Christ the Son. He also gave of himself when he created man in his image. Since we are made in the image of God, we are also made to give ourselves generously. Paul says in 2nd Corinthians 9:11,

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

The liberty to give freely of ourselves is an American opportunity to be truly thankful for. Enrichment through happiness, health, and attractiveness is only a bonus.


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