Anyone who has read the first four verses of Mathew chapter six knows that the Bible clearly tells us not to announce in a prideful way when and how we give to others or the church. It even goes so far as to say that we shouldn’t let our left hand know what our right hand is doing when it comes to giving to those that need it. Most people I know follow these verses to the letter, and quietly bless many lives and ministries around them. I personally think we may be messing up, however.
These verses, like all of the Bible, must be read with the Scriptures as a whole in mind. When we read a passage which reminds us not to be prideful in giving, we must not follow it so rigorously that we forget a verse that tells us what we are supposed to be doing as parents.
Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
I’m afraid that many of us Christians today are giving so secretly that our own kids are not learning about God’s blessings, God’s provisions, and how our families fit into His plan. My kids learn some lessons by me teaching them about something, but they learn far more when they can actually watch me do what I am telling them about. Here is a real life example that I hope will help you understand why this lesson is so important.
A few weeks ago two of my friends announced that they would be skipping their honeymoon. Many young couples get married, and do not have the resources or the time to get away, but those were not the reasons that led to my friend’s decision. They decided not to spend their money on an exotic vacation, but instead go live at an orphanage in India for the next few months. They also had one simple request: Instead of wedding gifts, they asked that their friends, family, and social media contacts help them raise enough money to cover the costs of moving to India right after their wedding. What an amazing, selfless act and cool project to give to! I donated as soon as I saw it. I was by myself, it was late at night, and by the next day I had almost forgotten that it was done. I gave a decent amount but it was far from a sacrifice and I didn’t even mention it to my wife…or my son…or my daughters. I missed out on a great teaching moment with my family. I didn’t take the time to share how God had blessed us enough and that He now was allowing us to be a blessing to someone else.
Over the last few weeks I have kept an eye on their progress. As of today they have had 8 people contribute a total of $357.00. Here is what scares me: Our kids are watching this.
They see it on Facebook as they scroll by. They see a young couple who made a brave decision to go live in a country that is not easy to live in. They see someone’s son and someone’s daughter giving part of their life to serve God, and it looks like God is a little slow on delivering what they need to follow His will. Here is what they should see: I should have shown my kids what Eric and Tara are doing. I should have let them know about the amount we were going to give as a family. I should have encouraged them to give something as well. Here is why: I want my kids to know that God always delivers on His promises. One day when they feel the urge to step out in faith and follow Him, I want them to have a thousand stories they can look back on, and remember all the times God blessed us as a family, and also the times He allowed us to help others.
I want my kids to be the next Eric and Tara, but I don’t think they will unless I stop giving so secretly.
On average, 2,000 people read my blog posts. A $3.00 donation by each of you would fully fund Eric and Tara going to India. I encourage you to tell your family their story and then as a family pray about supporting what they are about to do. If you can’t give, share this with someone who may be able to. I have no doubt that God wants them to be at the orphanage later this summer and I think all of us can play a special part in making it happen.
Andrew Smith is an Executive Coach and Leadership speaker with the John Maxwell Team, as well as the Assistant Director of Rooftop Missions, an organization that seeks to train leaders internationally, as well as care for orphans through the ministry of the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home.
Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Because of his military experience, he now assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families.
He has also owns and operates a small business -Yellow Dawg Striping – in Southwest Virginia.