"God gave me my money," said John D. Rockefeller a century ago, and scandalized some of his fellow Americans. Today I wish that more people would develop such attitude about their wealth. When you realize that God not only made you but also gave you your talents and opportunities to earn a living, you are much more likely to obey your duty to use your money, time, and talents for the good of your fellow man, as Rockefeller did. And amazingly, your charitable giving tends to increase your personal wealth and well-being.
Men often act selfishly, but we are not designed to do so. We are made in the image of a loving God. This is written down in the manual on how to use our free will. Why do people so often get in trouble? Because they so often ignore the manual. If my wife does not pay attention to the instructions included with her American coffeemaker and decides to use it in Bulgaria without an adaptor, it will melt due to higher European voltage. If I don't care for car manuals and choose to feed our family minivan diesel instead of gasoline, I'll be paying lots of money to drain and flush the wrong fuel. When we ignore God's manual and do not share our blessings with others, we may or may not accumulate more money but we definitely will live a more miserable life.
In the spring 2010 issue of Faith and Economics, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, A. Brooks, offers evidence from neurological studies that charitable giving releases endorphins and lowers stress hormones. It seems that God has wired the human brain in a way that helps charitable people to lead more productive and happier lives. "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all," said Christ to his disciples (Mark 9:35).
People who are seen as more generous are also more likely to get elected to leadership positions. Unlike entitlements, when giver and recipient are personally connected, the exchange is beneficial to all-it helps a person in distress, makes the giver feel better (improving his health and work performance), builds up social capital within local communities, and increases the amount of wealth for the nation.