School: an Invitation to Generosity
This week’s blog post is the result of reading and study of the YouVersion Bible reading plan “Building a Legacy of Faith in your Children,” taken from the book Pass It On by Jim Burns and Jeremy Lee.
Day Four of the devotional ties in wonderfully with the ideas from the August 12 sermon on Deuteronomy 6. Pastor Jay emphasized God’s plan for parents to be the primary people who start and leave a spiritual legacy for their children. This devotional plan reminds us how to build a spiritual legacy — by reading and discussing God’s word and by providing opportunities to serve and give.
As the school year starts, consider your school (whether a home school, public school, or Christian school) as a wide open invitation to generosity. Starting school can elicit both fear and pride. As parents, we fear the negative influences of our larger community and we take pride in our children’s growing independence and responsibility. Our tendency can unwittingly be to allow our lives to revolve around our children: their schedule, their development, and their wants. And some of that revolution is healthy — parents ought to be involved in the lives of their children, but not to the neglect of the needs of the body of Christ and his mission to the world! Jim Burns and Jeremy Lee write in their devotional, “If you let the world revolve around your child, then they will grow up with a sense of entitlement — the enemy of generosity.” If our whole family life revolves around meeting our child’s needs, development, and wants; if we try to protect them and insulate them from the world; and if we have no space for service and generosity; then we will eliminate the possibility of teaching our children about the physical and spiritual needs of others. What is your child’s potential for influencing this world for good? How can you train your child in the ways of Philippians 2? Serving together is the antidote to entitlement. How can a kindergartener serve? They can shop to fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, collect donations for the food pantry, participate in a trike-a-thon (or similar event), clean toys at church, assist in baking and delivering cookies for Celebrate Recovery, and much more! Viewing the school as a invitation to generosity means coaching your child to pray for teachers and classmates, cultivating friendships with people who may not be believers, and seeking God for opportunities to shine light in a dark place, in addition to setting aside time each month to volunteer to be with students and donating to the school.
It’s challenging to keep a child from thinking they deserve everything that they want. Their eyes see the shiny things they don’t have, and they quickly learn to ask for it for birthday or Christmas. I was convicted this morning by reading James 4:1-12 in the New Living Translation. The sin of covetousness gives rise to many other sins. Our entitlement mindset is the same as adultery, and put us in the “enemy category” with our Creator. But his grace is abundant and easily accessed through humility. Let’s humble ourselves as parents and get our priorities realigned with what God says is truly important.
by Heather Soukup, Children’s Discipleship Director