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Gift to the giver

A Christian Science perspective.

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It's a truism that the more of some material thing that you give away, the less of it you have. With love and compassion, however, the reverse is true – the more you give away, the more you have.

Material things are by nature limited, finite. Spiritual ideas, however, such as love and compassion, have no limits. They don't run out. Because we are free to give only something that we have, to give love is to acknowledge that we have it, thus heightening its presence and power in our lives. In this way, giving truly blesses both the giver and receiver.

The Apostle Paul goes even further, asserting that it is "more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). This is confirmed by those engaged in philanthropic work (such as those profiled in the Monitor's "Extreme do-gooders – what makes them tick?" ), who often describe feeling much more satisfied after giving, whether they are donating their time, talents, or financial resources.

The general perspective on life is that it is essentially an accretive process, where the goal is always to gain more of something – more wealth, success, beauty, or skill. With this approach to life, people face limitations and roadblocks to achieving their goals – setbacks and downright failures. A distributive way of looking at life, however, with such outwardly directed goals as giving love, sharing wisdom, providing a useful service, expressing beauty and joy, eliminates these roadblocks.

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