Catherine mentioned last Sunday in her message that Sid has always seemed to have the gift of generosity. One of my favorite examples is from a day when he was in 5th grade and the adult son of a member of our church, recently back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, came to visit his class at school. He mentioned to the class how the soldiers loved to get mail from back home, especially care packages, and how it made them feel loved and appreciated.
Sid came home that day, told me about it, and asked if we could go to BJ's to buy some supplies for a care package that the class was going to put together to send over to the young man's fellow troops. He was quick to tell me that he wanted to spend some of his money to do this...he was not asking me to pay for the supplies. I said "Sure," affirmed him for such a thoughtful idea, and then asked him how much he wanted to spend. "A hundred dollars," he said.
If you were in worship last Sunday, you remember Catherine sharing how, from the time our kids entered 1st grade, we used something called the ParentBanc to help teach them about financial management, which included "buckets" for giving, saving, and spending. By the time Sid was in 5th grade, because he was more of a saver than a spender, he had more than enough to be able to use $100 on the items for the soldiers.
I'll never forget making that trip to BJ's with him. He had carefully listened to the young man in his class mention some of the items the soldiers most loved to received in care packages: beef jerky, peanut butter, candy, granola bars, gum. Walking the aisles of the grocery section, there was joy all over his face as he picked up large boxes of those items and dropped them into the shopping cart.
You know, I think at our birth we are endowed with the gift of generosity because it is one of the core characteristics of the God in whose image we are created. Children naturally want to be generous, and when this gift is recognized and celebrated, it flourishes. Yet if that gift is not cultivated, it can become choked out by the day-to-day activities, concerns, and preoccupations of our lives. I love how The Message Bible paraphrases Proverbs 11:24: "The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller."
How are you cultivating the gift of generosity in your own life and spiritual journey? If you're a parent of school-age children, how are you helping them cultivate it as well? I hope you'll join us this Sunday for the final weekend of First: Putting God First in Living and Giving. It's also the day when, all together, we can pledge to support the ministries of the church for the coming year through our generosity. The world of possibilities for what we can accomplish together for God will certainly get larger and larger when we act by faith.
Grace and Peace,