My friends, I’ve heard it said a few times in the last few years that the Holy Spirit doesn’t come child-sized. That’s an amazing thought when you think about it, that just as God’s Spirit dwells in us in “size” and strength, He dwells in our children too when they have made that all important decision to make Jesus their Lord and Savior.
I’ve seen children do amazing things under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I’ve witnessed this over and over again in my youngest daughter who gave her heart to Jesus at age 5. As her mama, I was proud, but I had to learn to get out of the way when the Holy Spirit moved!
And the way He moved in her was generosity. He still does. When she got her first job, the first things she bought were gifts for her mom, dad and sister. I’ve watched her give away her favorite toy to another child in distress and as she’s become an adult, I see that same generosity displayed in her heart for people (except when they’re driving like maniacs!) and for animals. For a while there I thought for sure she’d wind up being a missionary!
My friends, I was not born with that generous gifting, but I have learned so much by watching how she operates in this area and seeing how the Holy Spirit moves her heart. Whatever our children’s gift(s) may be, it’s important that we help them understand that they are to be shared. God does not equip us for our own benefit. His economy is the opposite of the world's. The world’s economy is to invest only if there is a return. God’s economy is to invest (give) without the expectation of a return, yet we wind up receiving more than we ever could have imagined.
I have found that when I quit worrying about my needs and just give into the needs God is showing me, He takes care of mine. He is our provider, our Jehovah-Jireh. When we know we are taken care of and provided for, we are freed to give even more.
A great place to start with our kids is their allowance. In our book, Not Alone, I suggest giving your child two piggy banks, one for their part and one for their tithe for Jesus. Then let them decide where to “sow” this investment into. They can put it in the offering plate and have a sense of knowing they are acknowledging God’s provision and pleasing Him with the aroma of their sacrifice. A friend just shared a story of her son doing this with his money from mowing yards. He’d seen mom and dad do it and decided he should too. They hadn't taught it yet, but he "caught" it.
My church in San Jose has a children’s ministry that builds up funds to purchase animals for families in third world countries. Each Sunday the children race up to put their money in the bank, usually in the shape of the animal they are working toward purchasing. They are learning to not only give but to be part of a cause to benefit someone else in need.
We hear stories all the time of a child moved to give in some way or help someone. That’s God moving in our children, my friends, and the Holy Spirit can move in them just as He moves in us.
For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, “We are his offspring.” — Acts 17:28
They may want to help a friend at school, who they’ve found out is having a rough time. Buy extra groceries and put a bag together for the homeless person they saw on the way to the store. Support a cause they feel passionate about. My youngest daughter has done all these things, even to the point of asking us to take a friend in need into our home. It was a decision we had to make as a family, which meant getting my pre-believer hubby involved. He was moved not only by the need of this teenager but even more so by his daughter’s heart to help. We never see the full scope of the ripple effects of these situations, my friends. Hearts are softened when we least expect it sometimes.
Lastly, I want to share a quote from this chapter:
Finally, lead them to pray for their enemies. Help them see beyond the nice and the nasty and to see people’s hearts. These are life skills they will need the rest of their lives in order to walk into adulthood with the knowledge that first, we live in a world of broken people, and second, we stand among those ranks. But we have a Savior who came in power and love to rescue all of us.
Question: What ways do you teach your children to be generous? Share your stories, SUMites! They’re sure to inspire me and others reading today. And I want to celebrate you!
Prayer: Holy Spirit, guide me each day to help my children live in an awareness of God’s kingdom. Help me to walk in this awareness too. Help us to see those who need our love and prayers, even if it’s simply someone alongside the road who has been in an accident. Show me the times when I can live and love as Jesus does right in front of my family. In Your merciful name, Jesus, amen!
Our prayers are our greatest form of generosity, my friends. Now there’s a thought to ponder…