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Friday, November 15, 2013

We Are Family - Family Does Generosity

I like being generous.  It brings me joy to give to others and see them blessed.  I began learning to be generous from my Dad when I was a little kid.  We would be sitting together in the pew (that would be an old-school bench seat for you uninitiated) in our little church and he would give me a dollar to put in the offering plate when it went by.  My parents gave on a monthly basis and he would hand me the folded check to put in the offering plate on those Sundays.  I liked being able to do that.  It made me feel good.
            Dad’s generosity reached beyond supporting the church.  I also remember there were people in our town who would be struggling financially so my Dad would hire them to do some work for him.  It was work he could have done himself but he had a heart to help others out and help them up.  He still does that with his grandkids – gives them jobs so they can earn money for college.  I try to take these jobs away so I can earn the money but he won’t let me!

            My Dad wasn’t just generous with his money, he was generous with his time as well.  He has always been a great model to me of what it meant for a husband to serve his wife.  My mom was a music teacher for 20+ years for our school of 150 kids, K-12.  She taught them all – littlest to the biggest – and every year there were at least three all school concerts she would do.  My Dad was the set-up, tear-down, sound guy.  Patiently listening to all those off-key singers (but we were cute!) and squacking band members learning to play their instruments.  Dad was generous with his time.  It can be somewhat easy to give away money but to give away our most precious resource?  That is where true generosity begins to show.
            I also remember stories Mom and Dad would tell about their parents and I realize their generosity came from the generosity they saw modeled, too.  My Mom’s Dad (Grandpa Sam to me) had greenhouses and a florist shop.  At the end of the depression in the late 30’s and 40’s people down on their luck would come by looking for food.  He would give them a job – chopping some wood, shoveling some dirt – and pay them something or give them some food.  He always tried to help out, commenting, “They’re just down on their luck and need a little help.”
            For years I’ve given our tithe electronically because it is convenient and I don’t forget that way.  So I haven’t been able to model generosity in one of the ways it was to me.  But I seek to show generosity and encourage generosity in my kids.  And they are catching it.  I have seen them give away something to a friend rather than sell it.  I’ve seen them sacrifice some time to help another out.  It makes my father’s heart proud!
            We need more generous people in the world.  People who are generous with their money, generous with their time, generous with their giftedness; the best way for it to happen is our kids seeing intentional generosity in our lives.  It is going to happen when our kids and grandkids see how blessed we are when we get to be a blessing.
            Be generous.  Be a role-model of generosity.  It can be part of your legacy that will live long after you are gone.
Peace and grace,
David
PS – Thanks Mom and Dad!

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