Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 28 - Cultivating Generosity

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”
Matthew 6:19-21(NIV)

When it comes to teaching our children about the Gospel and biblical principles, I have one firm belief: until we practice what is preached, it is only theory.  In other words, reading the Gospel is great, but practicing the Gospel, actually living it out, takes it to a whole different level… especially for our children.

For us, we started a few years ago with weekly trips to the soup kitchen.  At that point in our lives, the children were all still pretty young; but, not too young to set out silverware and place mats. So that’s what we did. We have also been encouraged by other families that are trying their best to live out the Gospel with their children.  Through the years, we’ve heard of some really great examples: doing yard work for elderly neighbors; making meals for single parents; running in, and raising money for, charity races; having birthday parties at (and for) non-profit organizations, spending Christmas mornings feeding the homeless, teaming up with another family to raise money to build an orphanage in Haiti. You’re only limited by your imagination… or the need that God places right in front of you! 

After years of trying our best to live out the Gospel in this small area, we are seeing God’s grace bestowed upon our children as their hearts are being transformed right before our eyes. This year, our children decided that they wanted to support the Robbie Foundation, an organization that is working to meet the needs of children with developmental disabilities in the state of Maine. One night, while discussing the needs of the organization, my eldest children asked if we could help purchase one of the items: a wheelchair ramp for a 4-year-old little boy.  And, just like that, we had our project.  For the next few months, we collected bottles and sold items we no longer needed.  Usually that money was earmarked for bakery purchases and dinners out, but my kids were willing to sacrifice…some more than others, but I could never begin to explain how incredible it was to hear my children gently remind one another of the greater purpose and the need to sacrifice.  My children, in this very small way, were beginning to understand what it means to live out the Gospel. I’ve asked my oldest, Sydney, to share her thoughts with you…

"It is important to live out the Gospel because you can teach great things to people who need it. The hardest part of raising money for the Robbie Foundation was not being able to get sweets. We would have used our bottle deposits for sweets or for trips to Dairy Queen.  But, it felt great to count out the money with my brother and sister and then roll the coins with my dad.  I think Jesus feels great about our choice to buy the wheelchair ramps.  It's good that we didn't spend our money on something that won't last.  Instead, we are helping to make a child's life better.  I want to help any child who needs help because that's what Jesus would want me to do."

And I don't think I could have said it any better myself!


If you don’t already have a tradition for cultivating generosity in your family, spend time asking God to point you in the right direction.  It can be a service project in the community, in your neighborhood or even in your own house.  (Spurring on generosity between siblings is always an adventure.) We have found that nothing else helps us fall more in love with Jesus than extending His love to others.

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