Generous – I give what I have to others because I want to and it makes me happy
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart...for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
When our kids were little, one of our favorite books to read together was The Giving Tree. Are you familiar with this children’s book? In case you aren’t, it follows a boy through his childhood into adulthood and captures the spirit of giving, or generosity, as his favorite tree is always willing, out of love, to fulfill a need (branches to be used for swinging, for example). It’s a lovely story that I highly recommend and I’m sure it will become a favorite of yours just like it was ours.
Is there someone you know who represents the opposite of generosity? I think immediately of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. It wasn’t that he lacked the resources to be generous, it was simply that he lacked the heart to do so. And yet, sometimes, there are people who have an abundance of resources and freely give, yet it is not so free for the recipient because unseen strings may be attached.
Contrast those with the ultimate demonstration of generosity...God giving His one and only Son that we may be saved from our sins! That is a gift we will never be deserving of yet forever grateful for, a gift that is freely given because of His great love for us.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
One more verse that I just have to share:
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25
CALL TO ACTION
Training children (and ourselves) to be cheerful givers can be a family affair with a lifetime of reward!
- GIVING FROM THE HEART – First of all, generosity must flow freely from the heart! You can start cultivating a generous spirit within your home by teaching your children to recognize the needs (no matter how big or small) of others. Once again, this is where a heart check might be necessary for us as parents! Are we displaying a generous spirit ourselves?
- GIVING FROM THE HANDS – When needs are recognized, the next step is to fill them! This can begin in early childhood by simply doing secret deeds around the house for siblings and it’s a great way to create a contagious generous spirit! You can encourage your own child to fulfill a secret deed (something that is done for someone else that makes their day brighter and better) at no expense! The added fun is that it is kept a secret as to who did it! Just sit back and watch the joy spread! As your children get older, the desire and ability to give grows!
- GIVING THROUGH TIME – This is probably one of the things we are most selfish with....our time. However, if you reflect on your own life, you’ll probably agree that the most memorable times of generosity aren’t always with actual gifts but are gifts of time. For instance, one of the most memorable summers of my childhood was one spent planting an acre of strawberries with my great-grandfather. Not only did we get our fill of strawberries the following years but we got our fill of spending time with someone who loved us enough to give us his time. The gift from a cheerful giver goes a long way!
“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give.
I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.”