So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul—teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates… Deuteronomy 11:13, 19-20
“By the way, Mom, I’ve volunteered to bring snacks and drinks to church for the next two Sundays,” my daughter casually remarked on her way to the car.
Inside, I freaked. What? More snacks. More drinks. My knee-jerk reaction was harsh, though I kept it internal. I was in the throes of providing snacks for two different soccer teams, delivering meals to sick friends and family, having friends over for dinner, and participating in our school’s food drive. I didn’t have more time, more energy, or more money to give.
My emotions waffled between frustration and angst over my daughter’s actions. I wanted to have a voice in this decision. Now I was fully committed. However, the Lord gave me eyes to see things from an entirely different perspective—His. He showed me my daughter’s giving heart. She didn’t hesitate to help provide for the large group of middle schoolers.
The reasons for her attitude are two-fold. God has given her the gift of hospitality. She happily shares whatever she has. She doesn’t keep score about what she gives or what she receives. Secondly, giving freely is something my husband and I try to teach our children, leading by example. Helping others is obedience to God. It’s our responsibility as parents to help our children learn this truth.
It isn’t easy. Being selfless certainly isn’t a trait we’re born with. Looking out for the interest of others requires humility and intentionality. It also requires overcoming our own selfishness of time, energy, and expense.
God must have chuckled at my inner tantrum. He reminded me the lessons we’ve teamed up to teach are working. I could hear Him say, “You want your children to be openly generous, caring, and helpful. There’s so much more to giving. It’s what you’ve worked so hard for all these years.”
Wow. I got the message and laughed at myself. My perspective completely changed. I was more than happy to supply what she needed to take to her church group. I am delighted that, not only does my daughter want to do this, but she assumes I will be fine with it too—and I am.
Think about the biblical concepts you’re teaching those in your life. When you see God moving, don’t hinder His work. Celebrate the progress.
Kristi Buttles is a freelance writer and photographer and has been published in the books Faith & FINANCES: In God We Trust and Faith & FAMILY: A Devotional Pathway for Families. Her passion is global missions, having traveled to Kenya and Ukraine on mission trips and she can’t wait to see where God leads her family next. She’s involved in local missions and several ministries in her home church. Kristi has been married for twenty-two years and she and her husband Bruce share the adventure of raising three wonderful children. Kristi received her B.A. from the University of South Florida. She has written a Bible study, non-fiction, fiction, and a children’s book. Her heart in service is tender toward childhood parent loss and trauma (including death, divorce, abandonment, and major sudden loss) based on her own personal experience. She also speaks to women’s groups with emphasis on Christian living, parenting, and family missions. Visit Kristi’s blog at www.RealDeepStuff.com.