We've got a dilemma on our hands

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Hi, I'm Jeremiah the Pastor of Operations here at IBC.

My wife and I had a situation on our hands. Our daughter, who is seven years old, suddenly found herself “loaded” with cash. She had done chores and saved five dollars. She knew exactly what she wanted to do with her riches. She was going to buy an iPad game she had been wanting.

The dilemma presented itself at VBS. She heard about an opportunity to give to Serve Hope, an organization building houses for families in need. We suggested that she use part of her $5.00 to give to the cause. At that moment, she became visibly torn between buying what she really wanted for herself and doing what was important and good for others. This gave us an opportunity to teach our 7-year-old a lesson about generosity.

Here are two things (out of many) I want my children to learn as it relates to living generously:
The first is that God is the first and most generous giver. Generosity doesn’t start with us. It starts with God. In fact, the biblical story is a story about generosity. No words capture the essence of this story better than the words of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son. That whoever believes in him shall not perish, but will have eternal life.” I want my kids to understand that being generous with our money doesn’t start with a biblical call to give. It begins with how God demonstrated his generosity in gifting us with something so precious to him – his Son. 

The second thing I want my kids to understand is that we are most like God when we give. When iPad games- or any other self-gratifying item- becomes more important than addressing the needs of others, then we have become selfish. But, when we learn to release the grip on our finances, it reflects a change in our heart that mimics the generosity of God. Paul Tripp writes, “God calls you to surrender all your money goals to the grander purpose of his mission of redemptive generosity. God calls you and me to make his visible generosity visible in the way that we think about and use the money he places in our hands.” God promises to meet every one of our needs. Tripp continues, “He now calls you to open your heart, as he has opened his, and give willingly, joyfully, and liberally.”

I’m learning to be more generous as I grow in my relationship with Christ. The Lord is teaching me that everything I have belongs to him. He’s showing me that I can trust Him because He will provide for my needs. As we grow in Christ, we will become less selfish and more generous, reflecting the heartbeat of our giving God. 

I need to learn these truths just as much as my children do. When it comes to deciding between something like an iPad game or giving to someone in need, it should be second nature to choose the more important and good thing – generosity.


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