When my son was young, I deliberately started teaching him about using his time and his talents to help other people or causes. He loves to volunteer…his favorite was probably spending time at the animal shelter (usually petting kitties or reading to the shelter dogs). Although, it does love combing through sales racks to find items for Isaiah 58, a ministry that provides a suitcase of items to women leaving prison. He’s also spent hours coloring pictures for people he’s never met in nursing homes or military members in deployed locations.
We also talked early about money: how to share it, how to save it, and how to sow it into causes that he most believed in. Each month I budgeted $100 for him to spend in this manner. He got to choose if he was donating it, tithing it, buying something for someone else…whatever he wanted.
Never once has he chosen to spend the money on himself.
Christmas becomes one of my favorite seasons to watch him choose how to spend the money that has been set aside for others. In the past, he has used it to purchase angel tree gifts, foodbank items, presents for his friends, and blankets for the humane shelter. This year the $100 bill went to a waitress who served us breakfast. She literally started crying and hugging us both.
Luke 3:11 (NASB) states, “And he would answer and say to them, The one who has two tunics is to share with the one who has none, and the one who has food is to do likewise.”
Scripture tells us that it’s our obligation to share what we have with others. I understand that for some, $100 is too much for their personal budgets. Likewise, I understand that $100 may be too little for other budgets. The reason I’m sharing this on the iron porch is not to discuss the actual amount of money we budget, but rather so that we are aware of how much impact we have on others. And how much influence we have over training our children to simply be kind.
After sharing with the waitress, my son said, “I love doing this so much, mom…I wish we could do it every day!” This presented an opportunity to have a conversation about how sharing the Gospel can be a daily activity…and that it is just as important as caring for others’ physical needs.
A gentle reminder of this is seen in 1 John 3:16-18 (NASB). “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters. But whoever has worldly goods and sees his brother or sister in need, and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God remain in him? Little children, let’s not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
I’ve learned so much by watching the care of a toddler through a pre-teen in selecting how he will help others. When I created a budget for my little guy, I had no idea how much of a lesson it would be for my own heart. Do what you can financially…but know that you have the ultimate gift to share when you tell others about Jesus Christ.