The Selfish Giver

Article by Hilgardt Lamprecht (@TheLifeWealthGroup)

Photography by Hilgardt Lamprecht (@TheLifeWealthGroup)

Originally published in Winter Garden City Lifestyle

I think the phrase, "It is better to give than to receive," many times has been used to make people feel better about spending hard-earned money to help or bless someone else. It's a phrase we like to throw around during Christmas to soothe the pain of losing money or justify our sometimes too-extravagant gifts. But in doing so, we miss one of generosity's most potent and vital side effects: true joy.

It is the joy of being personally involved in the good outcome of the gift. It is seeing the smile or the relief of a recipient knowing their needs are being met or their desires are being fulfilled. Most people in need are praying to God to help them fulfill that need, and when we step into the waterfall of grace and love God has for people, we become God's answers to those prayers. We then, in exchange, get submerged by the love, joy, and the fulfillment that what we have done to earn the money has greater meaning and purpose.

Money has become the facade of value we use to measure our worth. Each day, we exchange ourselves, our knowledge, our expertise, and our energy for money and then the money for our needs and desires. It becomes the selfish cycle that turns our world. In my years, I have discovered that giving is very personal for me. I realized that when I give, I am really giving of myself. Each gift comes with a little bit of me, my time, my efforts, or my expertise. Now, I am not saying that pursuing success or nice things is inherently wrong, but I am saying that this pursuit is driven by one thing: self. We miss out on the joy and impact that comes from selflessly giving selflessly to someone who hasn't earned it.

But is it truly a selfless act? Unfortunately, no. Giving is one of the most selfish things you can do… Denzel Washington puts it this way: "The most selfish thing you can do in this world is helping someone else, because the gratification, the goodness that comes to you, the good feeling, the good feeling from helping others—nothing is better than that. Not jewelry, not the big house, not the cars; it's the joy. That's where the joy is—in helping others. That's where the success is." Denzel reminds us of the truth that when we pass, none of our possessions, achievements, or account values come with us. Instead, what proceeds us is the impact we had on people through the donation of our resources, our time, and our talents.  

As a financial advisor, I am engulfed by the impact of this green paper that spins our world, and I've seen the lengths to which we go to earn it. I have seen the hollowness and emptiness that follows the life of self-gratification. I have seen people who seemingly have everything feel as if they have nothing. And I have listened to the regret of those on their deathbeds who died with millions in the bank. They say that life is lived forward but understood backward. What I have learned from those backward understandings is this: life is less about affluence than it is about influence.

The influence of generosity, whether we give of our time, treasure, or talents, extends beyond our own individual success. And the beauty in giving is that it is free. We are not forced to give through compulsion, pressure, or even guilt, but the best kind of giving is self-determined, free, and under no guilt or pressure. We are free to give of ourselves to whomever we chose to give to. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says it this way, "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 

During my own giving journey, I have experienced the addictive joy of generosity but have also fallen captive to the traps that lost me this joy in the process. Nevertheless, I have learned valuable lessons that have shown me how to maximize the joy and impact of generosity, and I would like to share them with you:

1.       Give Freely. Do not allow guilt or the pressure of the world or others to influence your giving. Rather decide in your own heart how you would like to give and to whom. You do not have to be rich to be generous.

2.       Get connected to your recipient. Whether you give of your time, talents, or treasure, get to know your recipient so you can see firsthand the impact of your generosity.

3.       Create a unified giving plan with your spouse. Nothing is more powerful than coming together as unified team to give to causes you both are passionate about.     

As we enter another Christmas season, I encourage you to be a "selfish giver" this year. I encourage you to look at your generosity through a new lens and to step into the joy of your impact potential. Ask God to show you who to love on, and let us both enjoy being touched by His love for people. I leave you with one final quote from Winston Churchill: "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

Merry Christmas to you and your family from your LifeWealth Family!

Securities offered only by duly registered individuals through Madison Avenue Securities, LLC (MAS), member FINRA/SIPC. MAS and The LifeWealth Group are not affiliated companies.

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