“Freely you have received; freely give.”
– Matthew 10:8
I find that I sometimes have a hard time being generous. I am usually willing to give, but not so much when it hurts or when it’s inconvenient.
Last week my husband’s company volunteered at a Thanksgiving dinner for underprivileged youth. We decided to take our four-year-old daughter with us, to teach her about serving other people. We told her that a lot of these children don’t have a lot of the things that she has, like an abundance of clothes and toys.
She decided that she wanted to donate some of her things to these children. This melted my heart! She has about 100 stuffed animals (no joke), so I was happy to see when she put three of them in a bag. (Usually she fights me when I’ve asked her to donate some in the past.) She then pulled some books off of the shelf to give away.
As I looked at her selections, I asked, “Are you sure you want to give away these ones?” She had picked Curious George Goes to the Hospital and two different Berestain Bears titles, some of our favorites.
After indicating that she was sure, I was almost tempted to put them back on the shelf and pull out some that we didn’t really read. But I remembered what Will had told me the night before, “When she picks things, don’t hold her back.” So I kept them in the bag and let her donate them.
Being a parent teaches me so many lessons and convicts me in so many ways. I realize that to truly teach my children, I need to model the values I want them to learn. Had I switched out the books, I would have demonstrated that we should give out of our leftovers and not out of the best we have to offer. But is this really cheerful giving that pleases God? (See 2 Corinthians 9.)
I’m thankful that God doesn’t leave us the way that He found us. And I’m grateful that He used a four-year-old girl to teach me a lesson in generosity.