Monday, April 23, 2012

God Loves A Cheerful Giver

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, 
for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7

Around Christmastime, I usually do a toy purge.  You know what I mean--going through all of the kids' toys, figuring out what they don't play with anymore, the broken, the Happy Meal toys, and giving them away to Goodwill or throwing them away.  I always try to do this when the kids are at school, because otherwise I hear the inevitable, "NO!  I NEED THAT!  THAT'S MY FAVORITE!", no matter if they've played with it lately or they haven't touched it for a year.  I always remind them that they're going to be blessed by Christmas, and by the time the day is over they won't remember the toys that were given away.

It's not always easy to teach our children good stewardship.  Think about when they get money for their Birthdays.  How many of us tell our children that they need to take 10% of that money, and put it in the church offering?  I know we haven't.  It would be so tough for them, that's for sure.

But like most other things, teaching our children good stewardship starts with us modeling good stewardship.  We need to remember that stewardship isn't all about money.  Stewardship, more specifically, is faith in action. It is giving of our time, our talents, our treasure.  When we have good stewardship, we are giving ourselves to the Lord, and making Jesus the focus of our lives.  Like our children giving their old toys to Goodwill or tithing from their birthday money, we are giving to the Lord as He has given to us.

The wonderful thing about good stewardship is the blessings that come from it.  Malachi 3:10 says, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  'Test me in this,' says the Lord Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it.'"  The more we give, the more blessings we get out of it.  When our children see this happening in our own lives, they will be happy to follow our example.

We pray:  Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the gifts you give to us in our lives every day.  Help us to remember to be good stewards of those gifts, and help us to teach our children to be good stewards themselves.  We praise you for the blessings you shower upon us.  In Your name we pray, Amen.

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