Last week, Taylor (our 10-year old) came home from church talking about ways he could earn money so he could give it to the church. The next day, Megan (16 yrs) came home wanting to develop a system so she would remember to set aside 10% of her earned money to give back to God. I love that my kids are learning to be more generous. So much goes right in your life if you can figure out generosity. And I'm fairly confident that generosity can't be taught--it is caught, it is nurtured, it is imitated, it is developed. We don't become generous because we hear a message on generosity. We become generous over time when we begin to practice actions of generosity.
As a teen, I began the practice of taking 10% of my paycheck and giving it to the church. During my first three years after high school, I was traveling around the country and not able to attend my home church--but continued to mail them my tithe checks. In those early years when I was literally living on less than the established poverty-level, it wasn't easy to give. I didn't always do it because I felt like it. But I believe those weekly acts of disciplined giving established within me a life of generosity. And I'm grateful for the adults in my life who helped me learn this.
So many of the blessings of God on my life are directly connected to learning to be generous. How do I know that? Here are a few reasons...
- The act of giving blesses the person giving more than the person receiving (Acts 20:35).
- Generosity has a guaranteed return on investment. Perhaps not always financially, but when you give, you are guaranteed a return (Luke 6:38).
- Better yet, when you give you are guaranteed future blessings (I Timothy 6:17-19).
- When I don't give, I am less loving and less able to be a carrier of God's love (I John 3:17).
- If I learn generosity when I have nothing, God is more likely to trust me with more (Matthew 25:21).
- A life of generosity proves that I am interested in others. Lack of generosity proves I am interested only in myself (Matthew 6:21).
- Being generous directly imitates God. He gave His most precious possession (Jesus), yet is is often a struggle for us to give up a few dollars (John 3:16).
It means so much to me that there are leaders at our church who are teaching my kids about generosity. If they get this, it will do more to prepare them for life than a college education or a killer first job. I believe that to my core.
How about you--is there a step you can take today to become more generous?