Examples of other Christians’ faithfulness can have a powerful influence on us. We know this not only from our own experiences but from the Scriptures themselves. The book of Hebrews recounts for us the stories of the Old Testament saints, concluding, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
In God’s wisdom, the example of other saints is meant to stir us to greater faithfulness in our own lives. Take, for example, three especially generous Christians from recent history.
Continue reading “A cloud of generous witnesses”
He was one of the great evangelists of the 18th Century, born in 1703.
In 1731 he began to limit his expenses so that he would have more money to give to the poor. In the first year his income was 30 pounds and he found he could live on 28 and so gave away two. In the second year his income doubled but he held his expenses even, and so he had 32 pounds to give away (a comfortable year’s income). In the third year his income jumped to 90 pounds and gave away 62 pounds. In his long life Wesley’s income advanced to as high as 1,400 pounds in a year. But he rarely let his expenses rise above 30 pounds.
He said that he seldom had more than 100 pounds in his possession at a time. This so baffled the English Tax Commissioners that they investigated him in 1776 insisting that for a man of his income he must have silver dishes that he was not paying excise tax on. He wrote them, “I have two silver spoons at London and two at Bristol. This is all the plate I have at present, and I shall not buy any more while so many round me want bread.” Continue reading “Wesley's lifesyle – what a challenge!”
In his excellent TEDx talk at Cambridge, Michael Norton makes a compelling case that spending does, indeed, buy you happiness, as long as you spend it on others! Michael introduces the idea of social spending and explains how this increases the donor’s well-being. “Spending on other people has a bigger return for you than spending on […]
In his excellent TEDx talk at Cambridge, Michael Norton makes a compelling case that spending does, indeed, buy you happiness, as long as you spend it on others!
Michael introduces the idea of social spending and explains how this increases the donor’s well-being. “Spending on other people has a bigger return for you than spending on yourself.”
It does not matter how you do this. “The specific way that you spend on other people isn’t nearly as important as the fact that you spend on other people,”says Norton.
Norton conducted experiments around the world to determine if money could buy happiness. His team approached random individuals, asked them how happy they were, and then handed them an envelope containing between $5 to $20. Half of the participants were asked to spend the cash on themselves and the other half to spend it on others.
One central theme emerged from their experiments from student campuses in Canada to poor people in Uganda: those who spent money on others reported increased happiness, while those who spent it on themselves experienced no additional joy.
Nothing new under the sun? Jesus said “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Now you know what to do to be happy!
A similar, moving story is “The Coin in the Shoes.”