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Train Your Children to be Generous
Psalm 78: 4-7
4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but, would keep His commands.
In passages like this one in Psalm 78, the people of Israel were told to pass along the things they experienced of the Lord. They were to tell of His salvation, His mighty works, and how those things affected them in the present. Though we live in a different time and under different circumstances, parents have a similar responsibility today. Where Israel was to tell of their great rescue from slavery in the house of Egypt, today we tell of the great rescue from sin and death that Christ accomplished. And where Israel taught their children how to live a life of faith and worship in accordance to the Law, parents today teach their children how to live a life of generosity in light of the wealth that has been lavished out upon them in the Gospel.
Parents have the opportunity and responsibility to raise their children to live godly lives. It is an opportunity because they have the chance to raise their children in righteousness and to guide them away from the mistakes they themselves made in their own lives. It is a responsibility – a stewardship of lives – in that they are called to pass along the teachings of righteousness and godliness they have learned from the Scriptures. One way to do this is in teaching children, by word and practice, what it means to live generously in light of God’s remarkable salvation. For better or for worse, children learn from their parents, both from what they hear them say and from what they see them do. Children learn from parents the way they are, or are not, willing to sacrifice for others. They learn from their parents how to be, or not to be, hospitable. They learn from their parents’ things that will shape their perspective for the rest of their lives.
Do your children value generosity? Do they know the joy of making someone else happy? Do they know the satisfaction of giving to meet someone else’s needs? Your example could set them on a path of generosity that blesses people for years to come. The example you set in your generosity could be multiplied in all the lives of all the people your child will encounter for the rest of their life. Enjoy the privilege. Cherish the responsibility.
Today’s Generosity Challenge: Start a discussion around the breakfast table this morning (or the dinner table tonight or even via an email, if your children are grown and out of the house) and ask them to define generosity. Write down their answers for Day 8 in the comment section below. Prayerfully, consider what they understand intuitively and in what areas do you need to teach your family generously.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.