Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist who made millions of dollars from inventing and selling dynamite. One day in 1888, he was shocked to open the newspaper and see this headline: “The Merchant of Death is Dead.” It was his obituary! The newspaper had confused him with his brother Ludvig who had in fact died in France. The article remembered Alfred as a person who had gotten rich by helping people kill each other.
After reading his own obituary, Alfred Nobel realized that the legacy of his life was not what he had hoped. He set out to make a change becoming a generous person who shared his resources to make a positive difference in the world. You probably recognize the name from the Nobel Prizes (like the Nobel Peace Prize), which Nobel created with a $9 million investment to honor individuals of many professions whose work and efforts have benefited humanity. The Merchant of Death, Alfred Nobel, learned what it meant to become a generous person.
God blesses you and me so that we can be a blessing to others. He desires us to be generous people, and when we are, our joy and happiness overflows. Jesus said in Luke 6:36, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” There is a spiritual principle here: When you give, you will be blessed! When you give, God will grant you not only what you need, but it will overflow.
You and I have been blessed with time, talents, and treasure. We have been blessed with freedom, education, intellectual abilities, friendships, material possessions, skills, and wisdom. The mistake we often make is when we use these things just for ourselves. God has blessed us to be a blessing to others. When we hoard it all to ourselves, we miss the blessing. The gift actually becomes a burden! Rather than experiencing joy and happiness by giving, too many of us become stressed out by debt and the care of “our” material possessions.
Learn to give. Learn to become a generous person. For then you will see that the real gift from God to us is NOT the gift, but what happens when we give the gift. Generosity: it’s the true gift from God.