A Harvard Business School economist wanted to test out the theory about whether offering people more money would lead people to do something. He set up an experiment in which people were approached and asked to let someone cut in line. The person who wanted to cut in line began to offer money to those in line let them do it. He found that if you offered $1.00, half the people let the person cut. At $3.00, 65% of the people let them cut in. At $5.00, 75% let them cut.
While the economist thought this proved the point about money being the prime motivator, the odd thing was that even when they let the person cut in line, almost no one actually took the money! The economist had to revise his theory - that instead of one's own financial self-interest being the main reason someone allowed another person to break in line, that the real, hidden factor was the obligation people felt to help those in need. He said, "The more someone needs our help, the more obligated we feel to provide it. . ." (From Pre-suasion by Robert Cialdini: 52) The amount of money simply expressed how badly someone must need to break in line.
Maybe God has made us so that when we see genuine a need, we want to help. Jesus said this: "Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:30-31, NIV)
In the next day or two, you will receive a letter from me. We have entered into our "Season of Generosity" during which we are talking about how to become a more generous person. Last Sunday we said that "God Gave to Save" - which is why "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son. . . to save the world through him . . ." (John 3:16a,17b, NIV) We need every one of us to give generously in order to do our part to save the world God so loves. That is one way to become a more generous person.