My husband and I recently returned from a weekend retreat called Journey of Generosity—J.O.G. for short—sponsored by an organization called Generous Giving. We had the pleasure of sharing the weekend with six other couples. The purpose of the two-day getaway was to create opportunities for conversations about what it means to be a more generous person in L.I.F.E., in our Labor, Influence, Finances, and Expertise, which leads to greater joy, freedom, and intimacy in Christ. It was a very soul-searching time for me. I was touched and convicted concerning my own heart of generosity, or lack-there-of.
A question was asked of the group, “Can you name a memory you have before the age of twelve that helped shape your thoughts about giving? Or what memory comes to your mind at that age concerning money?” I had never thought about it. So? What DID I remember? Actually… nothing. That stunned me. I thought surely I could remember something! What I did remember is how Mrs. McNamara, a very poor lady, used to visit my family once a month in her ragged jalopy bringing us cookies. And when she drove off to deliver sweet treats to other houses, I felt sorry for her. No kids. No money. No purpose.
Each person shared their memories. One shared the memory of placing coins in the offering plate at church. (Well, I sort of remember that.) But what struck me is that as great as my parents were in many areas, I could not think of one conversation about money as it relates to generosity.
It matters what we model to our children about money. And yes, they will remember it as adults. We can train them about the value of it. We can teach them about using it, saving it, and giving it away to build God’s Kingdom. And we can teach them that no matter how hard we try, we cannot out give God.
So moms, here’s the deal. While you still have kids under the roof, instruct them about L.I.F.E. giving, whether it’s through money, random acts of kindness, or other areas of generosity like taking a baked good to a sick friend. Every child can understand it’s what we sow that multiplies, not what we keep in the barn.
What memory do you have about generosity before the age of twelve? As for me, remember that poor Mrs. McNamara? Well, my mother told me something shocking when Mrs. McNamara passed away. She was LITERALLY the wealthiest woman in town, a widow who lived her life well. No money? No purpose? Then why is her simple act of generosity suddenly remembered almost 50 years later? What about you? Are you ready to lead your family on your own journey of generosity?
About Pam Kanaly
Aloha! I’m Pam Kanaly, President and co-founder of Arise Ministries. But actually, I think Arise found me wanting to bless single moms years ago. Ministry was never on my mind as a kid. All I wanted to be was a hula dancer. So Mother enrolled me in the tiny tots’ class. Guess God knew I’d have two grandbabies born in Hawaii. I love the great outdoors. You might even find me spending time with my husband grizzly bear watching or camping. In fact, it was on a turkey hunt that God gave me the name Arise Ministries in 2002. I suppose it’s a good thing that I majored in Grammar in college since I love to write words of encouragement to single moms.