How Giving Can Bring Us the Best Christmas Ever (and an Invitation to Partner with EPM This Giving Tuesday)
In my book Giving Is the Good Life, I tell the story of ten-year-old Riley and how she experienced the happiness of giving. A few years ago, while shopping online for a bike as a present for her dad, Riley and her mom followed a video link about an organization that provides specially engineered bicycles for individuals with disabilities. Seeing the happy faces of people riding the bikes, Riley told her mom, “I’m going to buy a bike for one of those kids.”
Riley’s mom loved her daughter’s heart, but the cost of just one special bike was a few thousand dollars. Two days later, Riley showed her mom a letter she’d written explaining how the bikes could help those in need and requesting donations.
After Riley sent the letter to seventy-five relatives and friends, money started pouring in. Word spread, and as Christmas neared, more donations came. On Christmas, Riley donned a Santa hat and delivered bicycles to three girls: thirteen-year-old Ava, who has spina bifida; fifteen-year-old Jenny, who has cerebral palsy; and four-year-old Rose, who has a rare genetic disorder.
“This is the best Christmas I ever had,” Riley declared.
She ultimately raised enough to pay for seven bikes, each given to a grateful recipient.
Riley says that when she rides her bicycle with one of the girls she gave a bike to, “I like to go fast, get sweaty, and feel the breeze. . . . So does Ava. She pumps with her arms, not her feet, but she really flies.”
We instinctively imagine that spending on ourselves will make us happiest. But as Riley discovered, our greatest joy comes when we give to others. It really is true what Jesus said: “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving” (Acts 20:35, GNT). You might have heard that verse translated “It is more blessed to give than receive,” but the well-documented fact is that the Greek word makarios here, translated “blessed,” really means “happy” or “happy-making.”7
Notice what Jesus did not say: “Naturally, we’re happier when we receive than when we give, but giving is a duty, so grit your teeth, make the sacrifice, and force yourself to give.”
Money won’t make us happy, but giving away money can make us profoundly happy! When we give out of love for Christ and others, we experience dramatic and lasting returns for the investments we’ve made—far more than if we’d kept or spent it. Therefore, it’s not only receivers who come out ahead—it’s givers, too.
That brings me to Giving Tuesday, which is tomorrow, December 3. It was designed to be a response to the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and to provide us with the opportunity to consider giving as we go into the holiday season. I encourage you to consider giving generously and joyfully to whatever organizations God has laid on your heart! Our ministry would also like to invite you to consider giving through us to support the translation of Scripture. You can read more about that opportunity below.
Whether or not you participate in “Giving Tuesday,” may this Christmas season find you focused on the person and work of Christ, the greatest gift!
Partner with EPM and Help Fund a Scripture Translation
To honor the legacy of our late coworker Karen Coleman, a former missionary to Cameroon, for the past year and a half we've been partnering with Seed Company to help fund the Esimbi project, which will bring God’s Word to 20,000 people who live in isolated areas in Cameroon.
Our latest progress update was encouraging and shows that God’s Word in these people’s heart language is already bearing fruit. After a man named Elijah read Luke 6:12 in Esimbi at a conference, attendee Doris noted that she understood the passage clearly for the first time. “Read it again, please,” urged several elderly conference participants. They wanted to listen to it once more. The Seed Company reports that “Most members of the community now hunger for the Word of God in their own language.”
Although translation efforts aren’t projected to be finished until 2023, we have a goal of raising $120,000 by September 30, 2020. So far, over $47,000 has been given to the project by EPM and donors. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us to finish our goal? To donate, select the fund “Esimbi Translation Project” on our donation page and 100% of donations will go directly to Seed Company.
"Is not the festive season when families and friends exchange gifts in memory of The Gift laid on the altar of the world for the redemption of the human race, the most appropriate time to consecrate a portion from abounding riches and scant poverty to send forth the good tidings of great joy into all the earth?" —Lottie Moon