WE ALL like to be happy, don’t we?— But not many people really are. Do you know why?— It is because they have not learned the secret of happiness. They think that getting a lot of things is the way to be happy. But when they get these things, their happiness does not last.
Here is the important secret. The Great Teacher said: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) So, what is the way to be happy?— Yes, it is by giving things to others and by doing things for them. Did you know that?—
Let’s think about this some more. Did Jesus say that a person who received a gift would not be happy?— No, he didn’t say that. You like to get gifts, don’t you?— Everybody does. We are happy when we receive nice things.
But Jesus said that there is even more happiness when we give. So who would you say has given more things to people than anyone else?— Yes, Jehovah God.
The Bible says that God “gives to all persons life and breath and all things.” He gives us rains from heaven and the sunshine too, so that plants grow and we have food to eat. (Acts 14:17; 17:25) No wonder the Bible calls Jehovah “the happy God”! (1 Timothy 1:11) Giving to others is one of the things that make God happy. And when we give, it can make us happy too.
Now, what is there that we can give to other people? What would you say?— Sometimes a gift costs money. If it is a gift that you get at a store, you will have to pay for it. So if you want to give that kind of gift, you may have to save money until you have enough to buy the gift.
But not all gifts have to come from stores. For example, on a hot day, a glass of cold water really tastes good. So when you give that gift to a person who is thirsty, you can have the happiness that comes from giving.
Someday maybe you and your mother can bake cookies. That would be fun. But what could you do with some of those cookies that would make you even happier than eating all of them yourself?— Yes, you could make a gift of some of them to one of your friends. Would you like to do that sometime?—
The Great Teacher and his apostles all knew the happiness of giving. Do you know what they gave to other people?— It was the best thing in the world! They knew the truth about God, and they gladly shared this good news with others. They did this without letting anyone give them money for what they gave.
One day the apostle Paul and his good friend the disciple Luke met a woman who also wanted to have the happiness of giving. They met her down by a river. Paul and Luke went there because they had heard that it was a place of prayer. And sure enough, when they arrived, they found some women praying.
Paul began to tell these women the good news about Jehovah God and his Kingdom. One of them was named Lydia, and she paid close attention. Afterward, Lydia wanted to do something to show that she really liked the good news that she had heard. So she urged Paul and Luke: “If you men have judged me to be faithful to Jehovah, enter into my house and stay.” And she just made them come to her home.
Lydia was glad to have these servants of God in her home. She loved them because they helped her to learn about Jehovah and Jesus and about how people could live forever. It made her happy to be able to give Paul and Luke food to eat and a place to rest. So Lydia’s giving made her happy because she really wanted to give. That is something that we ought to remember. Someone may tell us that we have to give a gift. But if we really don’t want to do it, the giving will not make us happy.
For example, what if you had some candy that you wanted to eat? If I told you that you had to give some of it to another child, would you be happy to give it away?— But what if you had some candy when you met a friend whom you liked very much? If you got the idea all by yourself to share some of it with your friend, wouldn’t that make you happy?—
Sometimes we love a person so much that we want to give him everything and not keep back anything for ourselves. As we grow in our love for God, that is the way we should feel about Him.
The Great Teacher knew of a poor woman who felt that way. He saw her at the temple in Jerusalem. She had just two small coins; that is all she had. But she put both of them in the box as a contribution, or gift, for the temple. No one made her do it. Most of the people there did not even know what she had done. She did it because she wanted to and because she really loved Jehovah. It made her happy to be able to give.
There are many ways in which we can give. Can you think of some?— If we give because we really want to, we will be happy. That is why the Great Teacher tells us: “Practice giving.” (Luke 6:38) If we do, we will be making other people happy. And we will be the happiest of all!
Let’s read some more about how giving brings happiness, at Matthew 6:1-4; Luke 14:12-14; and 2 Corinthians 9:7.