6 Rules to Win the Parenting Game
Rule #5 Live Generously
Pastor Rachel Billups
Sometimes we expect our kids to understand generosity by osmosis.
Like if they just see what we do or don’t do, then VOILA they’ll be great at this money stuff.
We can do better.
Generosity isn’t just a lesson your kids are going to learn at church. Generosity starts at home.
Teaching your kids to live generous lives doesn’t actually start with money. It begins with your kiddos thinking beyond themselves. There are other people who have beating hearts, inherent value, intrinsic worth – as well as hurts, pains, and needs.
Here are three ways to teach your kids to think outside of themselves:
Any time one of my kids makes a gift for me, I keep it.
I still have scraps of paper, cut by my youngest, on my night stand. She said they were just for me!
It’s trash, but it’s trash she made for me.
What’s the best homemade gift that someone has given you? This is where it starts!
Letting your son or daughter think creatively about what they can craft and create, build and bake for the people around them teaches them to look beyond themselves.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV).
Giving gifts is where it starts, but it leads to a bigger biblical principle: the tithe.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops” Proverbs 3:9 (NIV).
The Israelites lived and died by their ability to produce enough food and goods for their community. It’s why their religious festivals were driven by the rhythms of the planting, growing, and harvesting seasons. So, when the writers of Proverbs declares, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops”, the writer is declaring, bring your best.
God wants your firsts and not your lasts.
God’s not looking for your leftovers, but the very best of what you’ve harvested.
The tithe is simply offering to God the first fruits of your harvest, your best, and in modern terms the first 10 percent of your income.
“If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth” (Genesis 28: 20-22 NIV).
Giving our best off the top to God is an exercise of generosity that requires trust.
Giving the first and not last means we need to trust God to provide the rest!
What an incredible demonstration of faith for your kids and grandkids!
By giving your tithes you teach your kids the art of generosity and its sacred space as an integral part of worship!
Get your kids started on budgeting early – whether it’s an allowance, money they earn through mowing the neighbor’s grass, or even what they are earning by working at the grocery store.
When you teach your kids how to live on a budget you free them for the future.
They learn that no matter what God calls them to do with their lives they can do it. If God calls them into a career with a simpler paycheck, they can embrace the call. With a healthy budget your kids will not have a super heavy load of debt or live beyond their means.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4: 12-13 NIV).
Give 10 percent. Save 10 percent. Live off the rest.
The goal of generosity is to have open hearts and open hands.
Are you generous with your resources? Are you living with an open hand? Are you ready to respond when a need knocks on your door? Or do you have such a tight grip on your resources that you can’t let go?
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIV).
This is not a guarantee. Not a get-rich-quick scheme. Not get yours because you don’t know when it’s going to run out.
This is living with such and open hand and open heart that generosity is what you do. It’s who you are.
If you and I want to raise generous kids, we must live generous lives.
Senior Pastor | Ginghamsburg Church