On an annual basis, we take time as a family to sit down and make monetary gifts—as a family. Typically, we make allocations according to age: The older ones get more to give away. (We may be ending that practice soon, given what I witnessed among my younger boys.)
Let me say that children, my own included, amaze me. Their capacity to think and feel is far richer than I credit them. So here’s our scenario: We were sitting around the living room talking about where we would want to give. We had some of the typical year-end gift opportunities. We had some new requests from people as well. Some would strike our core—our areas of interest. Others were rejected.
But it’s my son, Nathan, who amazed me. He wanted to look beyond the groups, the organizations, and in some cases the prayer letters and the three-color brochures. “Dad, is there a family we can help?”
On the one hand, I’m embarrassed. He’s so right. Help a family. On the other, I’m glad—glad that my son is getting it. He’s getting the idea that giving is not just about making investments in organizations. It’s about seeing people with needs—and how we can help.
Tracing it back to the source
How often we need to be reminded of this truth, again and again. This life is not about us. It’s about an eternal God who calls us and loves us, not because of our own merit, but because He chose to do so. And in realizing the wonder of His choice, we turn and offer back to Him and others all that we are and all that we have.
God gives us family. God gives us children—our children—to teach us about how He gives to us, and how we should in turn give. And God’s the one who desires us to grow into a giving family.
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Published January 21, 2011