Thursday, March 27, 2008

Holiday Regrets Survey

My friend Matt Bell, (check out his website, recently published results of a nationwide survey of 1,000 adults that showed results from two main questions about Christmas time 2007:

1. In response to the question, "Thinking back on this past holiday season what did you wish you'd done more of?"

  • Spent time with family and friends. 54%
  • Spent time reflecting on the religious/spiritual significance of the holiday season. 40%
  • Gave money to charity during the holiday season. 31%

2. In response to the question, "Thinking back on this past holiday season, do you wish you had done less of?"

  • Spent money on gifts. 30%
  • Spent time shopping for gifts in stores. 28%
  • Spent money on myself while holiday shopping. 23%

So, in general, many of us desire to focus on the true meaning of Christmas but simply are unable to do what we really would like to, for whatever reason. (hmmm...the pull of the culture perhaps?)

And, along with the regret people may have, comes a significant amount of consumer debt from spending money on gifts and spending money on themselves while holiday shopping! Doesn't seem right does it?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Giving makes you happy...I'm not kidding!

So what would you rather try:

a) spending your way to happiness & greater fulfillment in life?
b) giving your way to happiness & greater fulfillment in life?

If you said b), you're correct, at least according to a recent study.

Highligted in this article in Forbes magazine, researchers showed we really get more enjoyment and satisfaction from giving money away rather than spending it. Hey, that's an encouragement for many people (like me) who want to grow in this whole area of generosity. It's great to see some scientific data that proves giving makes you happier than spending! And from Forbes magazine, of all places.

And, if we use the Bible as a guide to live our lives, this secular study reinforces the truth that it's more (fun) blessed to give than to receive. As my daughter would say, "sweet"!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Do you feel rich?

Part of our problem with understanding generosity is appreciating our wealth in terms of the world. Most of us here in the US don't think we are. But we are. Even with a household income of $50,000 a year that would put you in the top .98% richest person in the world. The average household income in the Twin Cities is $70,000 which would make put you in the top .85% richest person in the world. Or how about this: Three billion people in this world live on less than $2 per day while 1.3 billion get by on less than $1 per day. Seventy percent of those living on less than $1 per day are women. Just something to think about. If you're interested, the website to determine where your household income ranks you in the world is, Also, for those of us who are Christians, Jesus said our wealth will make it that much harder to live in God's Kingdom. "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" - Mark 10:23