The Gift of Giving

Contributing Writer

We live in an acquisition, consumption, disposable society. I am reminded of the famous, or possibly infamous, bumper sticker and slogan that says, “The one who dies with the most toys, wins.” In reality, the one who dies with the most toys simply died with the most toys. The ones who win are the true winners. They are, quite simply, not the same thing.

There is certainly nothing wrong with having the trappings of a good life; however, one of the benefits or luxuries that success can afford us is the true gift of giving. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get and make a life by what we give.”

Giving goes far beyond something we should do or ought to do. Giving is something that becomes a part of us and a part of our life’s plan. Giving should, indeed, be a plan. You should not give your time or resources to an individual or an organization simply because they called you on the phone or mailed you a request. You don’t buy your toys this way, so you shouldn’t exercise your gift of giving in a random, haphazard fashion. Certainly, you should pay attention to appeals for gifts from solid organizations, but this only begins the due diligence process which enables you to determine where your efforts and your resources can make the biggest difference.

I know people who receive fulfillment from making gifts to organizations that further the arts. On the other hand, I know people who are dedicated to making a lasting difference among the homeless. I am drawn toward projects in the area of education and assisting people with disabilities. There is no right or wrong answer here as long as you have an answer that works for you and your family.

The gift of giving is a treasure because the minute you exercise your ability to give, you are transformed into a giver. I have studied a number of psychological surveys that deal with mental health and overall life satisfaction. Invariably, the people who give their time, talent, and resources are the most happy and satisfied. They, also, seem to become the most successful in their personal life. I will never believe that they give because they’re successful. Quite the contrary. These individuals have a history that would tell us they are successful because they give.

As you go through your day today, look for ways to explore new and exciting avenues to exercise your gift of giving.
Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist, and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082, or by e-mail at

Updated 12-18-2006

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