Money was something we didn’t have much of growing up. To be honest, I didn’t really realize it at the time. My parents didn’t complain. They didn’t say we couldn’t afford things. They just learned to be content with what they had, and life was what I thought life was supposed to be like. It wasn’t really until I went to private high school that I realized people had much more money than I did. Showing up to soccer practice every day and seeing the girls with a pair of Umbro shorts in every color, the most expensive cleats and name brand shirts brought me to reality. The girls in my class shopped at GAP and American Eagle and I shopped at the bags of hand-me-down clothes we had given to us by a guy from our church. The girls in my class went skiing every weekend in the winter and I went sledding out back. I’m not complaining. Not at all. I’m just saying how it was. Money wasn’t a stress point in these girls’ lives, it was just in their lives.
The funny thing is, my parents were the most giving people I knew. They still are. When missionaries came to our church for a conference, my parents welcomed them into our tiny mobile home, fed them dinner, piled all four of us kids into one room and let the family spend the night. When people came to the door looking for money, my dad would drive them to the gas station and put gas in their car. Probably with the last 10 dollars he had in his pocket. When anyone needed anything…they could always count on my parents. The amount of people my parents have personally invested into is mind blowing. They never did it for attention, and people probably still don’t know everything they did and continue to do. My parents learned a truth from the Bible that they decided to not just overlook. They decided to follow it.
You can’t outgive God.
You might not understand what that means, but let me explain it like this. God gives the power to get wealth. (Deuteronomy 8:18) So basically, every single penny I have is Gods, and He decided to let me manage it. Since I am the manager and he is the owner, it’s really important that I understand his view on what I should be doing with that money. Over and over and over again God talks about the importance of giving money away, not hoarding it. He says that if I sow sparingly I will reap sparingly. He says that giving to the poor is just lending to God. He tells me what happens to people who store up wealth and think they can count on tomorrow when in reality none of us can. Adam and I live that way and as a result we are teaching our kids to be giving. We don’t tell the boys they have to give (except for tithe), we don’t tell them they have to save. We tell them what God says, and we live out what we believe, and we leave the choice to them.
The deep version of what I just explained? We give to people because it’s wicked fun to see their reactions. A lot of times, we give but don’t tell people it’s us that gave it. Secret giving is so much fun. And we include the boys in on it! We have bought groceries for people in need and just left it on their door. We have bought shoes for people and just dropped them off with no name attached. It becomes a game..If I really can’t outgive God, how much can I give?!
When you teach your children that obeying God’s Word is enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding…they will do the same. When your children see you begrudgingly give tithe, or even give time to the church, to ministry or to people. Again. They will do the same. Which do you want them to do?
This past December, I watched as my boys gathered all the money they had and asked me to go to Walmart so they could buy Christmas gifts for some kids. In one way, I wanted to tell them to save their money and I would just pay for it. But then I thought…I might be taking away blessings that God wants to give them, so I’m just going to let them do it. I didn’t tell them they should probably think about giving gifts to others, they just decided to do it. When your kids grow up watching you give of your money and of your time, they see that it’s real. They see that God’s Word is true. And they want to be givers too. Show the truth by your actions.
So the easiest way to teach your kids to be givers? Be givers yourself! Don’t hoard your money. Give it away. It’s not yours anyways! Find people in need (they are everywhere) and give to them. Teach them the truth that is so much fun to watch.