A Blessing of Giving
Since it can be shown that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we would expect everything in it to be correct in every respect, including scientific, historic, geographical, etc. It is the case that scientific or archaeological studies often bring to light information that testify to the truthfulness of the biblical text. And while the veracity of the text does not rest solely on this type of verification, it is interesting and expected in light of the claims of Scripture.
Recent scientific investigation has presented the idea that when a person gives money to a cause he or she views as good, pleasure “centers” in that person’s brain are activated. In a study led by Ulrich Mayr, a professor at the University of Oregon, and reported in Science magazine, researchers gave several women $100. Mayr and his fellow researchers then studied the women’s brain activity using MRI technology. The research team discovered that when the women were made aware that their money went to a charity (like a local food bank), their giving activated “the caudate nucleus and the nucleus accumbens,” which are areas of the brain associated with pleasure (Steenhuysen, 2007). Even when the monetary donation was mandatory, the “pleasure parts” of the brain were activated, but the research indicated that a greater sense of pleasure occurred when the donation was voluntary (2007).
Concerning the data, Mayr stated: “What is interesting is that these pleasure areas are for really basic needs, like food, sex, sweets, shelter and social connection. It’s the area that tells the brain what is good for us” (as quoted in Steenhuysen, 2007, emp. added). To anyone familiar with Jesus’ statement in Acts 20:35, this research should come as no surprise. In that verse, Jesus is quoted as saying: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Not only is it of more spiritual and emotional value, but Mayr’s research suggests that giving maintains a beneficial physical aspect as well.
In truth, God’s instructions for humanity have always been for the good of mankind. As Moses told the Israelites in the long ago, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19, emp. added). He also said to them, “And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you” (Deuteronomy 6:18, emp. added). “And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always” (Deuteronomy 6:24, emp. added). In the New Testament, Jesus summarized the sentiment perfectly when He said that He came to this Earth so that humans could have life more abundantly (John 10:10). When people follow the commandments of God recorded in the Bible, they can be assured that their lives will be blessed in the greatest sense of the word.
Steenhuysen, Julie (2007), “Brain Gets a Thrill from Charity: Study,” [On-line], URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070614/hl_nm/brain_altruism_dc;_ylt=AhFVG 27TBOiEAox4fiRphkrMWM0F.
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