- Tessa Coker
Book Review: I Like Giving by Brad Formsma
What is the catalyst which inspires you to give?
For many of us, it is a powerful story of someone whose life has been changed by an act of unforgettable generosity. That is how Brad Formsma’s work I Like Giving has inspired over 125 million people worldwide to live generously. The journey began one day when Brad made a conscious decision to be generous rather than selfish, bringing his whole family along on the journey. Rather than going to the water park, as was their intention that Sunday, Brad’s family went on a wild adventure to buy new bikes for a Sudanese family in their city. Upon arriving at the family’s house with the prize, Brad discovered that the family wasn’t home. After a few minutes of awkward waiting, the family returned home. In his broken English, the Sudanese father exclaimed, “I like bike! I like bike!” And that is where the vision of “I Like Giving” was born.
Rather than take the reader down a path of technical tax breaks or guilt-ridden commandments, Brad inspires his readers through simple stories of everyday giving, of living lives of generosity. According to him, generosity is a lifestyle, not simply a one-time event. Because of this, it takes a certain selfless perspective to see people as opportunities for generosity rather than digits for one’s own gain.
In addition, giving is not necessarily monetary. As Brad says, “You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.” In every moment of every day there is a unique opportunity to bless someone, whether it be through a smile, a hug, an encouraging word, or a creative gift. The idea is to look for opportunities to bless people and fulfil them however you can.
That isn’t to say that monetary giving isn’t necessary or powerful. But it’s important that you give in a way that truly meets others’ needs and changes your heart as well as their circumstances. Rather than look at others as imposing their needs on your pocket, Brad encourages his readers to see giving as an opportunity for joy. In fact, he mentions a study done by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, social scientists at University of Vancouver and Harvard University, that found that those who are more generous with their money are generally happier than those who keep their money.
If you are someone who worries a lot about the future and is concerned about how to make ends meet, we encourage you to take the counter-intuitive step of increasing your generous giving. By holding your wealth with open hands, you decrease the control money has over your life. Even if that giving requires a sacrifice to your lifestyle (as it may), you will find yourself more contented and joyful than if you had all the comforts in the world.
Still, giving can be frightening and confusing. If you are looking for more answers to the problem of giving, we welcome you to RSVP to our annual investor conference, where we will hear from an expert on giving from National Christian Foundation, Ian Noyes, as well as Decision-Making Expert Phil Beccue. We hope that the event will equip and catalyze you into a renewed lifestyle of generosity.