Being generous does not only mean giving money. Generosity is the characteristic of giving in general. The Bible tells us that if we have two shirts and see someone in need, we are to give one away (Luke 3:11); if our neighbor comes knocking at our door in the middle of the night seeking bread, we are to get up and give it to him (Luke 11:5); and, we are not to hesitate in doing good when it is within our ability to do so (Proverbs 3:27). These are traits of a generous person, reflecting the nature of a generous God.
When my children were small our budget was very tight. It encouraged me one day when my youngest child said, “They give us presents, and we give them cookies.” I was not able to purchase gifts in response to a neighbor’s thoughtful generosity. I was, however, able to babysit, bake cookies, or write notes to show my gratitude. In that simple comment, my daughter reminded me it is not the gift, but the gesture of love that matters. I realized we can be generous by giving our time, service, or baked goods.
It is from the abundance of God’s love in my life that I am able to love others. In response to God’s love, I want to please Him by obeying His precepts which include loving-kindness, compassion, and generosity. My children were not able to love from such a motive at young ages, but the demonstration of generosity, like anything else, is taught by example first and later the heart follows with greater understanding. I hoped and pray today, that my children will always be generous because they learned to give freely when they were young.
As with anything God encourages, the benefits go both ways. Those who are on the receiving end of generous deeds are glad, those who give to others are rewarded with joyful satisfaction, and God is pleased with His generous children. It’s a win, win, win situation. So by all means, demonstrate generosity with your children.