We are working through a series of four simple family resolutions that can produce significant spiritual fruit in the new year; stop two:
2)Become A Family of Cheerful Givers.
This resolution isn’t meant to be a treatise on tithing. As residents of the dispensation of grace we are not under law to tithe. Paul never admonishes the church to tithe. However, he does admonish the church to generosity and calls us to be cheerful givers. We are called to give in generous response to Christ’s lavish grace given freely to us. Technology has made this easier by allowing us to have our offering withdrawn directly from out accounts every month without so much as a crossed ‘t’ or dotted ‘i’. Which makes me (who carries checks anymore?) and the church really happy, but unfortunately short-changes our teachable moments with the kids.
Resolve in 2015 to become a cheerfully giving family. I suppose one way you could do this is cancel your auto-drafted offering and go back to writing checks every month, but honestly, where is the fun in that. Let me suggest some other ways that you can teach and experience the joy of generosity with your family in 2015.
Create a cheerful giving jar or box to collect change, the odd dollar and family gifts. You would be so surprised how quickly strategically collected change accumulates. Add to that the odd dollar that you find while doing the wash and occasional gifts added to the jar because of unexpected refunds, a portion of the babysitting money or sharing some birthday money and your family could collect a nice chunk to give as a gift to a missionary family like Nathan and Katrina Britton in Taos,NM, or Marius and Daniela Chende in Romania. What a blessing it would be to receive a personal contact from your family with a small love gift for a night out, or gas, or diapers or whatever. For more information on contacting these missionaries or others contact me at email@example.com.
Sponsor a child. There are numerous agencies that you can go through to sponsor a child in another country, please do your homework in selecting one that not only provides for the physical needs of a child but is more concerned about their spiritual needs. Let me recommend Compassion International. Another way this could be done is by supporting an American couple looking to adopt. You could work a deal with them similar to what you would do for Compassion by donating a prescribed amount each month to be put into their adoption account to cover expenses and fees for adoption. It would be a specific way you could invest in the physical and spiritual life of a family and child. Here’s my suggestion for coming up with the $30-$40 a month needed to sponsor a child. Agree as a family to eat out one less time during the month. Maybe it could be your Sunday lunch out once a month that you give up to contribute to your sponsored child. While you’re eating at home that day, make sure you pray for your child or family, maybe you could even write them a little note letting them know your lifting them to the Father together as a family.
Donation day. If you have growing kids like me, spend some time two times a year cleaning out the closets and making a donation. A purposeful day of deciding what still fits and what can be donated will not only help your closets from become disasters, but will also bless others in the process. Then take the “misfits” to be donated together. Organizations like Eternal Food Ministries in Katy make drop-off of your gifts easy and use clothes and home goods to stock their thrift store which in turn funds their food distribution. You might even have a friend with younger kids who could benefit from your out-grown treasures.
None of these is really meant to usurp your regular giving to the work of the church, but to help pass on a love for giving generously to the younger members of your family. It might even serve as a reminder to yourself about why you give and how blessed the giver is in the process of giving.
If you have your own cheerful giving family idea I would love to hear it- email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share it on this post when it shows up on Facebook.