As we conclude our series on the Generous Life, I have been thinking how can we raise generous kids? What I have concluded is that to raise generous kids, they have to understand that there is Someone worth being generous. In fact, our kids need to understand that the Someone actually owns it all and has allowed us to steward everything on His behalf. Our money, our time, our homes, our energy & our talents are from God for us to use on His behalf for His Kingdom.
How counter-cultural is that to a society that entices us to make ourselves the sole focus of our existence? In fact, our culture, media & music tells us that we are owed anything and everything we desire. We deserve it! The Generous Life series has taken our focus off of ourselves & our neighbors and repositioned our eyes to focus on The Lord and how incredibly generous He is!
What does this look like practically? I can tell you in our house it takes intentionality, it takes perseverance & it takes living it ourselves. As parents we have to communicate with our kids why we are doing what we are doing, none of which focuses on us, but on our Generous Father who wants us to use His blessings to impact people for His Kingdom. For us, this comes in a few forms. The first is our family has adopted Operation Christmas Child. We have a line item in our monthly budget to ensure that our family can host an extended family packing party every November. We take strolls around Walmart to see if clothes, toys, or anything useful for shoeboxes are on clearance! Last year, Luke and I scored 54, $10 dresses for $1 in March. We were so excited. We brought them home and showed the fam what the Lord had placed in our path and how these dresses would go in boxes to be shipped somewhere in the world to a little girl that God has chosen to have a sweet dress & hear about Him!!
We are blessed to have a children’s program at Fellowship called Fusion that just launched a drive to collect money to give people who do not have access to clean water a filter that will provide 1,000,000 gallons of clean water! Fellowship teaches our young kids to be generous & that for as little as $55, we can help a family can have clean water for a LIFETIME and get rid of disease & sickness due to polluted water. Check out the video Water Filters
Fellowship Student Ministries has partnered with Pitza 42 in their initiative to feed 100,000 children by April. The owners of Pitza 42 came and spoke to our youth about how God had uniquely called them to open a business as a vehicle to feed starving children around the world one pitza at a time. FSM was challenged by the facts they shared and how we could take 24 cents & feed a child for a day. Did you catch that? Less than a quarter can give a child that has nothing a meal that will drastically change their health and their future. We can do that! So how does the youth program work to get teens & pre teens to catch that vision? Show them the contrast. One ‘coke’ in the youth room is 50 cents. That 50 cents is two meals to a starving kid. You just drank two meals as a luxury, where it would feed two kids who eats rocks to escape the snare of starvation. Can we give up ‘cokes?’ Can we sacrifice and get water our of our filtered water fountain? Can we give 25 cents every time we buy a drink? We explain the vision – 1 quarter = 1 meal. We explain the why – we want, they need. we sacrifice, they live. Our students are catching on and we have a jar on top of our drink fridge where students throw money in Sundays and Wednesdays. They are starting to ‘get it.’
A generous life begins with you, it begins with me! If we truly desire our kids to grow up and be generous, we have to have a right view of everything we have & understand why God has given us everything we have. Our lives, our possessions, our time, our giftings, our very breath should reflect and point to the Generous One who emptied Himself to come to this earth & give the unequalled gift of His Son to provide for our deficiencies & debt that we were drowning in…until He gave. Since then, everything that God has given us is to be viewed as His and for His purposes to extend His image to the ends of the earth! If we are living this way, if we are explaining why we live this way to our kids, if we invite them to join our generous lifestyle, we will raise a generation whose generosity communicates a Great & Generous God to the unbelieving world and we will see an expansion of God’s Kingdom.
Raising generous kids takes intentionality, it takes perseverance, it takes living a generous life ourselves! Does it work? This past Sunday my son, Luke, woke up early and because I feared he would wake my wife up earlier than is safe for someone to wake her up, I decided I would take him to church early with me. As we were walking out the door, he stopped and said he had forgotten something. He ran into a room and said, “I need my offering.” I got his piggy bank down and asked what he wanted to give. He explained that he needed money for offering & he needed money for Pitza 42. He grabbed a dollar and 2 quarters. He said the dollar was for the water filters with Fusion & the 2 quarters was for two starving kids.
I have decided I will start paying him for working at the house in pairs of quarters, because he now is beginning to understand that we are blessed to bless others for God’s Glory. Luke is learning to be a generous steward of what the Lord gives. Are you living the generous life? Our culture will raise our kids with a worldly self-centered view unless we build into them the generous life that we are living through Jesus Christ.
Of David. A psalm.
1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
3 Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.