How does someone become generous? We are made by God in the image of God. We are hard wired with emotions and feelings that can lend toward generosity. Some of those are compassion, empathy and sensitivity. Children tend to bond with those who show them love, care, and concern. In my belief, people don’t become generous by accident. It is learned through modeling and examples set by others, and children can be taught from an early age. Teaching generosity goes beyond something like sharing toys with your friends or siblings. Generosity is an act of compassion! As adults, the disciples of Christ were molded by the words of Jesus which the apostle Paul quotes in Acts 20:35: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
I think as adults we see this more as a duty than an opportunity. Many times in the Old Testament, we see instruction regarding the duty to care for the fatherless, the widows, and the travelers. This is mentioned multiple times in Leviticus. The Israelites were instructed not to harvest the corners of their fields, but to leave them for the poor and travelers. It has been rightly said that we all have fields, and we all have corners. The question that’s often asked is: “How big is our field?” We may desire a mathematical formula to size the corners. Some would certainly not want to err on the side of liberality or give too much of their crops away. God gives to us the fields and the corners. They all belong to God. Once we understand this, we can really start to understand the true meaning of generosity.
The story of Ruth and Boaz is one of my favorite examples of generosity. His great grandson was King David, a man after God’s own heart. Through this biblical example, we see that when two exceptional people come together to form a family, generosity can be taught and modeled, passed down generationally, if the love of God abides in the heart. In Ruth 2:3-4, speaking of Ruth, it reads: “So she went out, entered a field, and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek. Just then, Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, ‘The Lord be with you!’ And they answered, The Lord bless you. ”
Contemplate verse four. This is before Boaz even meets or is smitten by Ruth. In today’s vernacular, Boaz drinks his morning coffee, rides out into the field, and greets those who are benefiting by gleaning crops they neither planted, tended to, nor cared for. They are simply taking! Boaz acknowledges them with the healthiest of greetings. “What a wonderful morning!” he expresses. “Please enjoy yourself today! Honor the Lord who is the provider and giver of all things!” Who does that? He had fulfilled his
duties by leaving the corners available. He takes it to another level! Boaz understood the saying of Jesus, “Truly it is more blessed to give than receive.” In some ways, I think it’s easier for children to process this than most adults. Children want to help. They want to give back. It makes them feel like Boaz did, when he received the reply from the gleaners: “The Lord bless you!”
This article speaks to the children who participated in the fundraising efforts for Sacred Selections and other kingdom efforts. The greeting they send out does not return void; it is echoed back to them from all of those that they have helped: “The Lord bless you!” One may think, “They are only kids. They don’t have this responsibility. They don’t have fields, thus they cannot have corners.” Think again! These kids from Cedar Park found corners in their yards, flowerbeds, and on the street corners, and used them to their full potential. They planted the crop in advance of the harvest - literally! They took flower seeds and planted in the spring. They fertilized watered, weeded, and pruned the plants before harvest. See, they did not just use the corners. They used the entire field for the benefit for others! After months of care and work they hand cut the flowers and took coke bottles and other pieces of glass that others would think worthless. They made some of the most beautiful flower arrangements imaginable, because it was planned. And it came from the heart!
In addition, they baked and sold cookies, made three varieties of lemonade, and also sold birdseed. They raised $3,501 for the Sacred Selections fund. But how? And why? Their parents modeled and taught them! But more than that they appreciated the families that God had given them and understood the need of the fatherless children to enjoy the same benefits they enjoy. God bless the generous people that support this organization, and God bless all the Children!
- Todd Cox