Monday Devotional
Dear Friend,
Driving home from church on Sunday afternoon, I heard a TED Talk on NPR about money.  It was so fascinating that although I arrived home before it ended, I waited in the car to hear the full story.  Here is the gist of the story:
Researchers in Vancouver, Canada gave individuals a small monetary gift at the beginning of the day.  Some of the folks were told to use it to buy something for themselves.  Others were told to give the money away.  They gave them no further specifics, leaving it up to the individuals to decide how to follow these instructions.
Those who were told to spend the money on themselves did things like treat themselves to a meal or bought a musical cd they had wanted.  Nothing too surprising there.
Likewise, the folks who were told to give the money away did things like paying anonymously for someone’s coffee, putting a donation into a street performers hat or simply handing it to a total stranger.  Again, nothing too surprising here.
The researchers had asked the participants one question both prior to and after this experiment.  They asked them to rate their happiness on a scale of 1 to 10.  What they found was that the people who were told to spend the money on themselves experienced no marked change in their happiness levels.  But, the folks who were told to give it away in some way, experienced a slight uptick in their happiness level.  It wasn’t a huge shift…they went from a 6 to a 7 or a 7 to an 8.  Somehow the act of giving to others had resulted in an increase in their overall happiness.
I have read similar studies with similar results.  When we give of ourselves…our time, our financial resources, our talents we are doing something kind for the recipients.  But the unexpected result is that in the act of giving, we experience an associated benefit for ourselves.  
May you experience the joy in giving to others in this week ahead.