Some people say that children are natural givers.
But this hasn’t been our experience at home.
My wife and I have five children. There are times when our children defy all odds and express a level of generosity. But these occasions are the exception; not the norm.
I could be wrong, but I think the first word all of our children said was “Mine!”
Being generous is something many of us will struggle with. The presence of sin in our lives will lead us away from serving and giving others to serving and spending on ourselves. But by the grace of God, we can be generous people (2 Cor. 8:7), as well as our children.
Helping our children to live generous lives is more than having them complete a task. Working with our children now to be generous will influence them to live generous lives as disciples of Christ as they get older.
Here are seven ways you can help your children become graceful givers.
#1. Preach the gospel
Your children will not be transformed into gracious givers through deeds alone. Yes, they can learn good habits and experience personal benefits from giving. But simply giving will not transform their hearts.
Continually share the gospel with your children. Let them know that their acceptance by God is not based on what they do. But on what Jesus has done for them.
This is not a quick fix; nor should it be.
Being transformed into a gracious giver can take time — especially when children are learning about themselves, life, and pursuing Jesus.
Lead your children to receive God’s grace. For it his God’s grace that will transform them into gracious givers (2 Cor. 8:1–9).
#2. Model generosity
Children learn through teaching. But they learn a lot (if not more) by observing.
Do you consider yourself a generous person? Do you regularly serve? Do you express thankfulness to God for your life, work, and possessions?
Living a generous life will encourage those around you to be generous.
We will touch on these individually below. But it’s important to stress that as a parent or church leader, that you must invite your children and the children of your church to participate in giving and serving.
#3. Teach a generous lifestyle
As a church leader, you can lead the children of your church through lessons on stewardship. These lessons cannot be confined to money alone.
Our entire life is on loan from God.
God gives us life. He gives us the skills we need to work. And he provides for us financially.
Lessons of stewardship should be carried out at home, too. This includes sitting down and talking about what the Bible says about generosity. This also includes talking and living a generous life with your children throughout the day (Deut. 6:4–9).
This small shift will lead to significant changes in how we and our children live our lives for the glory of God.
#4. Make generosity a part of your children’s ministry
As a church leader, you can take the lead in teaching children about generosity by making generosity a part of your normal rhythms. This can include a time of offering, special giving campaigns, or lessons about generosity.
But knowing your time is limited with the children in your church, it’s also a good idea to equip parents to talk about generosity with their children. This leads us to our next point.
#5. Equip your parents to talk about generosity
From teaching on generosity, providing financial coaching, to providing practical resources, encourage the parents of your church to share with their children what they’re learning about living generously.
#6. Provide opportunities for children to serve
Generosity is not confined to giving money. Generosity also includes being generous with our time and skills.
Encourage parents and children to serve together during your worship services and projects throughout the week.
There are many things children can do in their youth. And as they grow older, they can explore God’s call on their life by serving his church with their skills and interests.
Don’t be afraid to include children in serving. Give them the opportunity to feel included, help, and learn through failing.
#7. Involve your children in hospitality
You have many opportunities to be hospitable in your church and neighborhood.
From raking the leaves of an elderly couple, baking cookies for new neighbors, to providing meals for people in need, you can be caring to those around you.
During these times, involve your children in the work and talk about why you’re doing what you’re doing. These will be formative opportunities for your children.
There are many ways we can help our children become graceful givers. How do you do this? Share in the comments below.