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Intersection of Life and Faith

Teaching and Learning Generosity

  • Todd Outcalt
  • 2013 22 Aug
Teaching and Learning Generosity
"Give to anyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you" (Matt. 5:42).

Some years ago, Robert Fulgham penned a marvelous best-selling book Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. There were many lessons Fulgham recounted in the book, but one of these early lessons was about sharing, or as he noted: When we learn how to share at an early age, we learn one of life's most valuable lessons—the lesson of generosity.

Sharing, however, can be a most difficult endeavor—even in church.

Not long ago a small group in the church purchased some new furniture for a fellowship area.  Right away I received a phone call from a concerned member of this small group who said, "Now that we have new furniture in this room, we think it would be best that no one use it. That way, the furniture will stay nice and won't get worn like the old."

When I hung up the phone that day, I recall thinking: "What good is new furniture if it can't be used?"

Surprisingly, a few minutes later, I received a second phone call from this same person who said, "You know, I've been thinking about what I said.  How ridiculous! Of course we want people to use the furniture. That's why we bought it. It's made to be worn out!"

Sometimes those lessons we learn in kindergarten never are forgotten. Sharing and generosity, in fact, are at the center of what Jesus taught. Giving, serving, sacrificing, helping...all of these can be evident in our teenagers, too. They can be present in the spirit of our ministry and what we share together and how we share it. When we give in the spirit of Christ, other people pick up on that. It's so different from the more common experiences of individualism, hoarding, greed and self-preservation. When we give—when we teach our teenagers to give—wonderful things happen in and outside church!