Babies are born inherently selfish, depending on their mother for everything. They have to be that way in order to survive. As your child gets older and begins to interact with other people—siblings, friends, other adults—they begin to realize their world is bigger than just them. And that’s the perfect time to teach them the value of having a generous spirit.
Read this devotion with your child and remind them to give to others as Jesus gave so freely to us.
Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. Proverbs 11:24
Let’s say you are eager to start in on the meal in your lunch box, even though it isn’t much. But then your friend asks to trade your fruit for his, and gives you not only a pear for your grapes but a nectarine too. Another friend trades you a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and mayo for your plain peanut butter sandwich, and throws in a chocolate chip cookie too! By being willing to give your friends what you could have kept for yourself, you received more than you gave in return!
Something way bigger than a lunchroom trade happened in the Bible. When Jesus fed the five thousand on the shores of Galilee, He didn’t call up His favorite restaurant and say, “Hey, I have five thousand mouths to feed. Send Me your best fish and chips, with plenty of tartar sauce.” Not even close! Instead, one of the disciples introduced Jesus to a little boy whose mom had packed his lunch box with some loaves of bread and a few fish. Back then, a loaf of bread was a small, dry wafer about the size of a mini-pancake. And by fish, the Bible meant a teeny, tiny sea creature about the size of a sardine.
The little boy had a little lunch. But what made that little lunch a big feast is what the boy did when Jesus asked for it.
The boy gave his lunch—all of it—to Jesus.
And then Jesus did something totally bizarre. He thanked God for the food!
As the loaves and fish were passed around, people ate and ate and still there was more food. And when everyone had eaten their fill, twelve baskets were still overflowing with leftovers. Crazy!
No matter how small your gift is, Jesus will always use it. All of us are carrying around our little lunches—talents, abilities, even small allowances. When you give Jesus these things, He uses them in amazing ways to bless others, and you’ll get to enjoy a yummy feast as well as the leftovers.
Give generously to God, and He will bless you and those around you.
Jesus, teach me to trust You with what I have. I know that as I give, You will bless others.
James Merritt is a pastor, author, and host of the Touching Lives television program, seen nationwide and in 122 countries. He resides with his family outside Atlanta, Georgia and enjoys spending time with his grandchildren.