I’ve seen posts all day about how today is called “Giving Tuesday”. It’s a day set aside on the calendar after we’ve spent all weekend shopping on ourselves and loved ones to think of others and “give”. In some ways this struck me as a little backwards.
But I was already convicted on Monday as I read this devotional below with my two teenage boys. We’ve been reading this book every day as I drive them to school throughout 2015 and there have been so many times where I kept thinking of God’s word to me in it all day long. This one in particular lasted more than a day.
Below is what we read in One Year of Dinner Table Devotions by Nancie Guthrie. (Yes, we are using a dinner devotional for the drive time, but it’s short and sweet and perfect for the time we have. Plus my boys like it.)
Getting and Giving
This is the season our mailboxes are filled with stacks of mail-order catalogs. Through their colorful pictures and creative words, they seek to convince us that we don’t have enough stuff – that we need more, newer, better. They go beyond supplying our needs; they appeal to our greed – the desire to get and keep more than we really need.
We have a choice. We can give in to greed and keep collecting more stuff and spending more money on ourselves. Or we can break out of the cycle of believing the lie that more will satisfy us. How? By giving. The only way to do battle with the greed in our hearts is to give – to become outrageous givers. God can turn greedy, grasping, fearful hoarders into generous, honest, trustworthy givers.
To become givers, we have to decide not to listen to the voice inside us that asks, “If I let this go, who will take care of me? What will satisfy me?” We have to face our fear that God will not be able to take care of us, protect us, or at least make sure we maintain the lifestyle we think we need to make us happy. We tell ourselves the truth about God – that because he has been so generous in giving us Jesus, we can be confident that he will give us everything we need. We take him at his word that he can satisfy us and that he will bless us as we give to others. We test his promise that it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
“Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!” Proverbs 21:26
“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Luke 12;15
“You can be sure that no immoral, impure or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” Ephesians 5:5
A few discussion starters:
What do you find yourself dreaming of getting? What do you find yourself dreaming of giving?
When have you experienced or observed someone else enjoying the happiness that comes from outrageous giving?
What does our green or generosity say about what we think of God?
So are you with me? Was your heart struck as mine was by how much I’ve been thinking about what to buy myself or my kids verses what can I give or who can I give to? The verses alone are enough to cut to the heart but then you add my answers to the questions and I’m done.
So what can we do to help our kids think more about giving than getting this Christmas? One way you can fight this greed in your kids is to give them opportunities to give and learn about giving. Here are a few ideas but I’d love to hear any others you have.
Visit the tables in the foyer and help your kids pick out an organization and specific gift to give through Equipping the Saints.
Find a neighbor or friend who has a need and meet it.
Join us tomorrow night at our Family Christmas Celebration (December 2nd at 6:30 pm) we will be talking all about generosity as well as wrapping up a few gifts for others. We’ll also be sending you home with a Generosity Jar so your family can think more about how to “give” to others.
Ask your kids. I’m sure they have some ideas but just need help figuring out how to make it a reality.
For me personally, I just hear about a new book coming out soon called Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch. I plan to purchase, read and apply some of what I learn with my own kids. Click here for a short write up about this book.
May God give us all a heart that wants to give more than we want to get. It is far more blessed to give than receive.