Beating the January Blues - 5 a day, the Bible Way (This is the fourth of five posts on this topic. Check out the previous three; final post coming later this week!) “Give” is the fourth recommendation from the NHS’s mental health care campaign. It says, “even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.” Again, and surely not surprisingly, this advice is very strongly echoed in the Bible. God is the ultimate giver – the giver of all life. God wants us to be like Him, so He encourages us to be givers. He wrote into His law that, “if among you, one of your brothers, should become poor… you shall open your hand to him.” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8). The Lord Jesus said, “Give to everyone who asks of you…” (Luke 6:30) and Paul wrote that “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7). This last passage is particularly interesting in understanding why we should give. It becomes clear that the reason we are asked to be givers is actually not necessarily to provide a long-term solution to whatever problem it is, as if everything can be fixed if we were all just a bit more giving. Rather, the focus is more on what giving does to the giver, rather than the recipient. Paradoxically, we are enriched when we give! And, that by imitating God, we please Him too. In a world that loves to emphasise the importance of “me time”, putting the needs of others before our own is particularly counter-intuitive. But it is entirely in keeping with the example of the Lord Jesus, who said that he “came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life…” (Matthew 20:28). If we can develop a more giving attitude, we will be becoming more Christ-like while also helping to look after our mental health. What can we do today to start to become more giving?

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