Proverbs 11:25 NLT
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
There is something about giving that not only makes me feel good but gives me more purpose. Generosity is not something that comes natural to everyone. It is often caught, and it must also be taught.
Last week, I read the following blog from Mark Driscoll about leading our families to be generous:
Teach your kids about Jesus and their need for his grace. Generosity stems from Jesus. We may be excellent money managers, able to instruct our children in the way of financial planning, but if neither our children nor we understand the gospel, then all the financial knowledge in the world amounts to nothing.
Invite your kids into the conversation. Too often we parents go about our day, doing chores, paying bills, running errands, and forgetting to invite our kids to participate and learn about things like responsibility, work ethic, joy, and decision-making. Children can handle more than we give them credit for, and the sooner you begin developing them financially, the sooner they'll learn.
Teach your kids to divide their money (from birthdays, holidays, and allowance) into three categories: give, save, and spend. I'll never forget when my son opened a fifth birthday card from his grandparents. There was some money in it, and he blurted out, "Yes, now I can pay my bills!" He didn't have many bills as a five-year-old, but I loved the fact that he was beginning to think through stewardship.
Don't stifle innovation; allow failure. I know it's a lot of work to set up the lemonade stand, but what a great opportunity to teach your kids about work, business principles, and managing finances. As your kids get ideas, take the time to encourage them and invest in them so that these mini-ventures can be used as teaching opportunities—whether or not they're financially profitable.
Engage your kids and teach them discernment. Most parents expect their kids to learn through osmosis rather than intentional development. And the truth is, without any parental discernment to guide them, kids will absorb life lessons, but through marketing, friends, and TV—none of which tend to rely on the principles of Scripture for instruction. Kids need to be equipped to recognize the difference between truth and lies.
Model generosity. Practice what you preach. Don't give to impress your children, but don't hide it from them either. (When you miss the mark, confess your sin to your family and let your kids see that Dad and Mom need a Savior, too.) Since generosity flows from grace, we can use it as a tool to teach about Jesus.
Isaiah 32:8 NLT
But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.
By our words and actions we lead others. By our words and actions we tell others what we believe. By our words and actions people know if we are generous or not. May we be people who do what God has always done ... share with others. May we do what Jesus always did ... influence and encourage others. May we be people who leave others the way God called His followers to do ... change the lives of us and others.
My prayer for me and the people I am blessed to serve is that we will do this:
1 Timothy 6:18 NLT
Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.