I have great excitement and anticipation as this holiday season approaches. It will be our first Thanksgiving and Christmas with a baby in the house, and I am eager to share this time of year with my family. It is also the time of year when we pay a little more attention to the idea of generosity and generous living. But what does true generosity in a home look like? I’ll admit I am easily lured into the idea that generosity means money and things. Already I am thinking about what presents to buy for Oliver and how we can shower our love on him in that way. (I am well aware he isn’t even one and won’t remember!)
God calls us to generous living. And, if our homes, centered on Jesus, are the epicenters of an active faith life, then that generous living should begin in our homes. How then might we begin to live with great generosity in our homes? Is there a way for me to be abundantly generous with Oliver without buying out Toys R Us? How did Jesus model a generous lifestyle? Here are some of the things that I noticed as Jesus lived life with generosity:
· Jesus was generous with his TIME.
· Jesus showed GRACE abundantly.
· Jesus allowed ACCESS to himself and his whole life.
· Jesus left a LEGACY of faith.
As I reflect on those things, I am left to ask myself the following:
· Am I generous with the time (undistracted, fully present time) that I give my family? Or, do I let material things take the place of the time I should be investing in them?
· Am I quick to show grace to the others in my home?
· Do I allow Oliver and Micah full access to myself, or do I let other things have more priority?
· What legacy am I leaving Oliver? Am I generous with how I teach and equip him to follow Jesus? Am I pursuing a faith life that I want my son to replicate?
Recently, the Jaeger family shared a story with me about an experience where they were able to practice generosity with their oldest daughter, Renata:
“I had heard about the Blessing Ceremony from you and the All Pro Dad website and thought it would be a great event to help Renata mark a transition in her life. She was very excited about her ‘Sweet 16’ and we decided to have a party with all of our extended family and a blessing. Renata has shown great maturity and responsibility so we wanted to honor and recognize her for that. After everyone had arrived, we thanked them all for coming, had Renata sit in the middle of the group, and told everyone what a blessing is (Baruch) and why we wanted to bless her publicly. We wanted to mark this day as her official transition from childhood into young adulthood. We told her, and everyone, that we recognize that she is growing up and is well equipped to be the person God wants her to be. We acknowledged and recognized all the great things that God is doing her and the abilities He has blessed her with. We wrote a letter to her which we read, and then presented her with a ring with an anchor on it as a symbol of the blessing and that God is our anchor. Hebrews 6:19 says ‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.’ Then we all prayed together, ate, and had a great time! I think it was a great way to honor Renata for the person she is and is becoming, to state that we see her as an adult and proclaim this to our family, and to show her that God planned and chose her from the beginning.”
Jesus’ generosity was an investment in others and in the Kingdom. His wasn’t an investment in earthly things that are broken and destroyed, but instead it was generosity that allowed for the growth and blessing of His people and God’s Kingdom. This Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am eager to let Jesus guide my generosity.
How are you practicing generous living in your home? What creative ways are you finding to invest in those in your home and in God’s Kingdom? Share your stories with me in a comment below, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.