A heart for giving

Today’s lesson: How to nurture a heart for giving

Materials needed for today’s lesson:

  • Skittles

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

– Winston Churchill

Verse of the day: By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35 ESV)

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor 9:7)

In his book Maximize, Nelson Searcy shares a great illustration of stewardship,

On a crisp spring day a few years ago, I took my nephew, who was about eight at the time, to a baseball game.  As the fourth inning wound down, he turned to me and said, “Uncle Nelson, can I have some Skittles?”  Well, I love my nephew, and I want to grant him the desires of his heart, so of course I said yes.  I pulled a couple of dollars out of my pocket, put them in his eager little hand, and watched as he walked the short distance to the concession stand.  A few minutes later he returned, already  digging hungrily into a bag of candy.

Watching him eat those Skittles brought out my sweet tooth.  So I asked him, “Can I have one of those?”

Without hesitating, he answered, “No, Uncle Nelson, they’re almost gone.”

Though I didn’t say it aloud, I have to admit my instinctive response was, “Look, kid, I gave you the money for those Skittles.  Not to mention I am a lot bigger than you are.  If I wanted to I could take the whole bag of Skittles away from you right now.”  Instead I let him continue eating his Skittles in silence.

God provides us our Skittles – how we choose to use them reflects our heart for giving. God calls upon us to gladly help others with love, rather than being  resentful because we have to do it.  Cheerful giving comes from the sense of love for each other that marks us as Jesus’ disciples.

Of course, being a cheerful giver doesn’t always mean that the giving is easy. Sometimes, you might have to make sacrifices in your own life to lend a helping hand to others. Maybe you’ll have to give up some time in an afternoon to help out with a community project that you would have spent watching your favorite show, or perhaps you’ll spend some of your hard-earned money on school supplies for a child in need rather than saving it for yourself. In these cases, we can look to Jesus for help; after all, what are our own sacrifices in comparison to His, made willingly and out of love?

We can nourish this kind of compassion through our practice of giving. While it may be hard to give cheerfully at first, it soon becomes its own reward after we see how big of an impact we can make with our generosity. Imagine, for example, how a sponsored child might feel knowing that another person cares about them and their happiness and well-being. Giving eventually becomes its own reward, and something that you can look forward to doing.

In these two verses, the Bible shows us the importance of truly meaning it when we help others, and the need to build a compassionate heart. We cannot give just because someone tells us that we’re supposed to; rather, we have to give of what we have out of a deep desire to make a difference in another person’s life, and out of our own love and empathy for those around us.

Today’s activity: Today, we’re going to play the Skittles game! You’ll need a big bag of Skittles and a bowl. Here’s how we play:

  1. Each member of your family should grab a small handful of Skittles.
  2. The game leader will call out a color. Each person has to answer a question for the declared color:
    Red: Why does God want us to give to help other people?
    Orange: What is one thing you can give to someone in need?
    Yellow: Who is someone we can help as a family?
    Green: What is something you can give up to help someone in need?
    Purple: How you can help someone in our family this week?
  3. After the player answers the question, he/she eats the Skittle.
  4. If a player doesn’t have that color, he/she is skipped that round.
  5. Move to the next player to answer the same question.
  6. When every player has answered, the leader calls out another color.

Today’s prayer: God, thanks for the chance to help others and grow our hearts for giving. We ask that you show us ways we can help those in need and demonstrate our giving heart each day. Amen.

Food for the Hungry works to change entire communities and solve physical and spiritual hunger. You can walk along with us by sponsoring a child or making a general donation. Thank you for your generous heart!

 

 

About Jeremy Reis

Jeremy Reis is the Director of Digital Marketing for Food for the Hungry. He is the husband to Jennica and father of 6. Jeremy writes about how to disciple children into a loving and compassionate world view.

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