Don’t Give Till It Hurts

Decades ago in an attempt to inspire sacrificial giving, you might have heard the admonishment, “Give till it hurts.”

But Dr. Jordan Grafman, Director of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and a well-known neuroscientist suggest this is completely wrong.

Dr. Grafman and his team used MRI technology to detect what parts of the brain are stimulated when the subject is indulged with things like food and getting good news. But when the subjects were given the opportunity to help a deserving charity, those exact same areas of the brain responded.

We are not, researchers determined, at all opposed to giving. In fact, it gives us great pleasure. And without the calories.

So why do we apologize for asking? Why are we sorry for giving our congregations the pleasure of giving? BMI and blood sugar aside, we wouldn’t apologize for giving our members ice cream.

This tells me that our people are not born with a distaste for giving. And it isn’t even the giving that people are offended with. I think it’s a distaste for poorly-run stewardship campaigns that say “gimme gimme” and fail to connect the money with changing lives.

When we talk with generous donors we often hear that they are quite happy to make the gift, that it seems to do as much for them as it does the charity they are supporting.

Let’s try as hard as we can to give more of our congregation the profound pleasure of being generous.

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