“No person was ever honored for what he received. He was honored for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge
“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” – Albert Einstein
Being generous can be difficult at times, at least it is for me. On one hand I want to make sure that I am providing for my family and they have everything they need, on the other hand I want to give back what the Lord has blessed me with and have faith that God will provide. Regardless, I believe it is very important for my daughter to witness my wife and I being generous, not only in tangible ways but also with the intangible (mostly in the form of donating time). After all, being generous is an action; sitting around just talking about it doesn’t do much. Generosity needs to be a part of our everyday lives in real and actionable ways, and in ways that my daughter can observe.
I love this story:
Shortly after World War II came to a close, much of the Europe had been ravaged by war and was in ruins. Some of the saddest sights of all were those of little orphaned children starving in the streets of those war-torn cities.
One early morning an American soldier was making his way back to the barracks in London. As he turned the corner in his Jeep, he spotted a little child with his nose pressed to the window of a pastry shop. Inside the cook was kneading dough for a fresh batch of doughnuts; the hungry boy stared in silence, watching every move. The soldier pulled his Jeep to the curb, stopped, got out and walked quietly over to where the little fellow was standing.
Through the steamed-up window he could see the mouth-watering morsels as they were being pulled from the oven, piping hot. The boy salivated and released a slight groan as he watched the cook place them onto the glass-enclosed counter. The soldier’s heart went out to the nameless orphan as he stood beside him. “Son…would you like some of those?” The boy was startled. “Oh, yeah…I would!” The American stepped inside and bought a dozen, put them in a bag, and walked back to where the lad was standing in the foggy cold of the London morning. He smiled, held out the bag, and said simply, “Here you are.”
As he turned to walk away, he felt a tug on his coat. He looked back and heard the child ask quietly, “Mister, are you God?”
We are never more like God than when we give. “God so loved the world that he gave …”
An actionable item that my wife and I have done for several years is called Operation Christmas Child, an effort organized every year by Samaritan’s Purse. Last year my daughter was too young to understand what was happening, however this year we want to make sure she is involved in every step. This is a fun tradition that also sets a great example of generosity. We can go shopping together, pack the box and drop it off together; at every step we can explain what we’re doing and why.
If you feel lead, please check it out:
Also, if my wife or I head out to volunteer, we can let our daughter know where we are going and what we will be doing. When we get back we can give her an overview of what happened and who was involved. As she gets older we can even bring her with us!
My goal is to continually look for ways that I can set an example of generosity. What’s your goal?