The Bible is full of examples of giving. Jesus himself was the Supreme Giver, laying down his life for us was the Ultimate gift. But how can we teach our children to be givers? Being the sinners that we are, giving doesn’t always come easily. It’s easier to be stingy and selfish. We want what we want, why should we share it away?!
Giving just like all other character trait, are best learned through example and opportunity. My husband and I have a very detached approach to our stuff. Sure we like it, but we also know it’s all very temporal. Moving often has helped us not get too attached to stuff. You just can’t take everything with you all the time. But besides not being attached to stuff, being able to leave it or sell it. Still it’s even more important that we can respond in a spirit of giving. It is our joy to share when a need arises, it is our privilege to give to our brothers and sisters in Christ when they have lack or just need an extra blessing.
“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” Acts 4: 32-35
I recently experienced something that has got me thinking on how we teach giving to our children. Bubble Gum Taffy was excitedly talking about the little gifts she wanted to wrap up for her twin friends, their birthday is coming up and she is so excited to give them something, anything. She found some things when we were out garage saling, but that wasn’t enough, she wanted to give them more. So I suggested she go down and pick out a couple bouncy balls from our bouncy ball box. My husband found this at a garage sale, obviously we don’t need all these. So she happily went in search of two bouncy balls, similar but different, just like her twin friends. Well wouldn't you know it, 30 seconds later up comes Blue-Raspberry, “Mooooommmmm, Bubble Gum is going to give away our bouncy balls, those are MINE and I don’t want her to give away all the BEST ones!” Thankfully I was listening to the Holy Spirit this time and instead of getting upset with him I just looked at him and said, “Do you want to pick one out for your best friend too?” You should have seen that child’s countenance change. No longer a tattily, unthankful, selfish brat, but now a smiling, excited, joyful Giver! He picked out the biggest and prettiest bouncy ball to give his friend! And then moments later Laffy Taffy ran up asking if he could give one a way too! “YES, YES!” Not only yes because we don't need that many, but yes because it’s just stuff and being able to give is a BLESSING and my children were experiencing that.
I am absolutely aware that my children are constantly watching me. If I hoard, they hoard. If I’m selfish with my stuff, my time, my needs, they will be too.
I don’t ever want ever want my children to be afraid to give. I always want them to know that God LOVES a cheerful giver, that the principle of sowing and reaping works for them too and that when they give, the real blessing comes to the giver, not the receiver. It’s a constant pursuit and completely worth while!
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21