Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Children are NOT Cheerful Givers

Last week the children and I joined my husband at a local church who has an awesome ministry to reach out to their community. They have a clothes closet and a food pantry. The 3rd Tuesday of every month people line up on the sidewalk and wait for the doors to open so they can look for warm clothes to wear, and get a bag of groceries. My husband and I tried to talk to as many people as we could, pray with them, and share Jesus with them. The children passed out candy canes to the few children who were there, and helped fold clothes and stack them on the tables. We were really blessed to be given this opportunity to serve, and will try and join my husband as much as we can in the months to come.

This morning I showed the children the Gospel For Asia's Christmas catalog. I knew they'd really enjoy watching the videos on how the people are blessed by receiving chickens, goats, and water buffalo. Then I asked the children to pray about what THEY would be willing to give of their own money to purchase items from the stable to help the people in Asia.

My heart is heavy as I type this. God has revealed a great deal of pride in my heart. I do believe I let myself get puffed up about believing we really are a missions minded family. The children have in the past been very willing to GIVE of their time, but it is so much harder for them to give of their own money. One of my children has been saving up since August for a very expensive LEGO kit, and this child just could not imagine giving up any of the money he's saved up so far. So, we have 42 cents in our "offering plate" this morning. That's not enough to buy a chicken! So, I will continue praying for my children to be cheerful givers. My flesh wanted so much to cry out and guilt them into giving more, but I truly want their giving to be done out of their pure desire to give to the Lord, not out of guilt.

What are some things you've done to teach your children about giving? How do you teach them to be servants and give of their time? How do you teach them to be cheerful givers of their money?


DanaW said...

Dear Nikki,
I feel your pain! Primarily I think cheerful giving is a work God does in our children's hearts as we pray and model sacrificial giving to others. For example,we might make a nice meal for someone,then have to eat beans and rice ourselves. We explain that we have been given so much it is a blessing to be able to sacrifice to give to someone else... When our kids were small we had them chip in on shoe boxes for another kid their own age/sex, which helped them take some ownership of the giving. One family I know brainstormed how they could give an item out of a catalog like the one you described. The kids decided to make and sell some Christmas craft in order to raise money and ended up putting in their own money as they got caught up in the project. Anyway, one of ours is now great at giving and one is not quite there when it comes to the money part. :) Keep praying and encouraging.

God's blessings upon you and your family this Christmas!

Teri Lynne said...

Sweet friend, I have not been in that boat ... but I can only imagine how much it hurt your tender heart. Remember this ... they are wonderful and sweet children who do love others ... and they are cheerful givers in their own way. Yes, God will use you to continue to mold their hearts but don't be discouraged!

As for how we have taught C to have a giving heart, we do the same things you do ... live it out in front of her and involve her in our service and giving to others. I imagine it makes a difference that her love language is giving & receiving gifts ... so I urge you to consider what their love languages are and use that to figure out ways to encourage their natural giving hearts.

Love you ... and thank you for your transparency!!

Nikki said...

Thanks Dana and Teri Lynne for your encouragement and advice:)

We will continue praying for them and living out loud in front of them:)