Yesterday, my pastor gave me $2. In fact, he gave $1,000 out of his own pocket in envelopes under some of the seats, ranging in amounts from $2-$50, with the simple request that those who received money use it to help someone else.
He explained that statistically, our human generosity actually decreases as we increase in wealth, yet those of us struggling to pay off bills, save money, etc. excuse ourselves from giving “until I’m in a better position.” So it seems generosity is a habit and attitude that is contrary to our human nature.
I want my children to grow in generosity, as well as myself. I spent yesterday wondering how? The pastor explained our human tendency to spend our money in our minds before we even have it. I even see it in my children. They are begging for Friday’s allowance by Tuesday, and planning what they will buy with it (and if only they had a little more, they could get something better!)
On a whim this morning, I grabbed a big jar and a couple sheets of paper & gave each boy one of the dollars while I explained the pastor’s challenge. I wrote the word “Give” on a piece of paper and we talked about what it means to give, how giving means releasing something you think of as yours, and we made a list of what we are able to give in addition to money (time, gifts, cards, food, talents). I, for one, am usually more than willing to give of my gift of hospitality and/or cooking. But I am guilty of excusing myself from giving money because I “don’t have enough, myself.” Yet I see now, that thinking is contrary to a generous attitude, and I want to see it change in me and my children.
I asked the boys for help in finding a way to use the two dollars for others. Each put their dollar in the jar, and we were all immediately inspired to see it grow. We added to it from our allowance & grocery money, which seems like a good step. We talked about ways we could use it, and said a short prayer asking God to show us how best to use it.
I know I can’t rely on this single activity to change our heart attitudes. It will take many, many behavioral changes, some prayer, and some massive amounts of faith to let go of some of that green…
but I’m excited to step in that direction with my little ones.