Cheerful giving?

A cut out heart with words

That would be giving cheerfully!

Those words were written by a Cool Disciple, one of our rising 1st through 6th graders, at FUMC in Ann Arbor. This child had just heard the story of the “Widow’s Offering” in Mark 12:41-44. The class had discussed how people in the temple in the time of Jesus were giving gifts of coins just like people today give money to the church. They had also learned why we give an offering in worship: as a response to God’s love.   (This summer we are learning about  various aspects of worship.  In June the topic is Offering.)

But kids don’t typically have any income so how can they respond to God’s love? Delving deeper into the Widow’s Offering story teaches us that the size of an offering doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even matter what the offering is because sometimes our offering doesn’t fit into the offering plate! It’s the attitude that counts!

Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7 (NRSV)

How do we teach giving cheerfully?

Well, we can always say: “we do it because Jesus taught us to.”  Which I suppose is one way to approach the topic… though probably not very convincing (if we are being realistic!)

Let’s face it, the only way to teach a behavior is to live the behavior. We need to be cheerful in our giving whether it’s while writing a check or making a meal for someone.

A bulletin board of hearts & hands made by the kids

Lots of hearts and hands were created by kids sharing ways that they can give cheerfully

Some ways to model giving (hopefully cheerfully!):

  • Join the FUMC Prayer Chain. Share the emails received and pray together.
  • Involve your children in preparing a meal to be given to a family in need. Even if it is just to ask them to help wash lettuce, stir brownie mix or fold napkins!
  • Donate toys they no longer play with or clothes that no longer fit. Investigate this link of organizations in our area that accept various types of donations.
  • Have any flowers in your yard or veggies in your garden? Deliver some to your neighbors (with the kids along).
  • What ways do you model cheerful giving?

Photos by Carol H.

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