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9 Ways to Build a Generous Family

So, you want biblical generosity to characterize your family. You want to be a family that lives open handed with their resources. This is a good thing. But instilling a posture of generosity in your family will not happen by accident. It takes intentionality.

Here are a several suggested ways to start building a generous family:

1. Regularly communicate your gratitude for God’s good gifts.

Entitlement destroys gratitude. And the absence of gratitude leads to the absence of generosity. If you are going to build a generous family, gratitude must be a part of the equation. Generous families are grateful families.

How do we find gratitude?

In James 1:17, we see that God is the Provider of all good things. Not a few good things. Not most good things. No, God is the Provider of all good things. But the Bible never says we are entitled to those good things. Here’s what the Bible does say—we are all sinners deserving of condemnation (Romans 3:23). The one thing we deserve is condemnation—so every good thing we receive in this life is God’s grace.

We will be grateful when we recognize any good thing we experience, any good thing we hold, as an undeserved gift of God. And we thank Him for those good things—food on the table, roof over the head, friendships, and family. When we talk about good things around our spouse and our kids, we are regularly pointing out the good things God has given us and thanking Him for those thing

2. Read Scripture and pray together.

In the point above, we considered what Scripture tells us about entitlement and God’s good gifts. A family that reads and prays together will find themselves regularly considering what God says about numerous topics, including generosity. You will discover the generous character of our God that we are to reflect. We give because He gave (John 3:16). God will use His word, not just to help the family intellectually understand generosity, but shape your hearts to be more like Him, a giver of good things. Build a generous family by reading Scripture and praying together.

God will use His word, not just to help the family intellectually understand generosity, but shape your hearts to be more like Him, a giver of good things.

3. Focus on time and talents, in addition to treasures.

God clearly desires for us to put Him first in our finances. The reason—money management reflects heart management. But money is not the only area of our lives we are to leverage for the Kingdom of God. A generous heart does not just mean a generous wallet. God has provided us with time and talents to be used for His glory.

Families can leverage their time and talents in a variety of different ways. Being generous with your time may mean volunteering at your church, discipling a new believer, working at a soup kitchen, or regularly hosting people at your home. Families can generously leverage their talents to assist their church or local non-profits. Build a generous family by focusing on time and talents, in addition to treasures.

4. Talk about your financial generosity and its impact.

God will use the financial generosity of your family to make an eternal difference. So, talk about it. Historically, financial generosity was visible—placing money in the offering plate at church. Children saw their parents give. Because of digital giving, children won’t know a parent gives unless they are told. Therefore, parents must be intentional about sharing their generosity, not to brag but to train.

God will use the financial generosity of your family to make an eternal difference. So, talk about it.

Talk about your financial generosity. But also talk about its impact.

Your local church likely provides ample opportunity to discuss the impact of financial generosity. God uses tithes and offerings to fuel the church’s ministry. When a person is baptized, when a missionary is sent out, when a widow is cared for, your generosity played a part.

Likewise, your gifts to other Kingdom-advancing nonprofits are also impacting lives. Celebrate the eternal impact of your gifts. Point out the changed lives your family was a part of. Help the family understand that giving isn’t throwing money in a black hole. God uses the family’s generosity in amazing ways. And more than likely, this will encourage the family to be even more generous. Build a generous family by talking about your financial generosity and its impact.

5. Provide opportunities to serve others.

Seek out opportunities for your family to serve others. Nonprofits and churches are regularly needing volunteers for both temporary and ongoing service. The local church provides several ways to serve—from welcoming guests to setting up chairs to participating in the service. Serving the local church will not only help instill the importance of being generous with time and talent but can help the family understand the importance of the local church in God’s mission. Build a generous family by providing opportunities to serve others.

6. Point out those who are being generous with their time, talent, or treasure.

For children, there is no more powerful influence than their parents. Parents should lead the way in generosity. At the same time, providing the family with additional living examples of generosity is beneficial when building a generous family.

When you see a famous athlete being generous with their time and treasure, tell the family about it. When you see a neighbor bringing in another neighbor’s trash can from the curb, tell the family about it. When you see a church member regularly volunteering in the church parking lot, tell the family about it. Point out those who are modeling what you desire to see your family become. Celebrate the generosity of others. Build a generous family by pointing out those who are being generous with their time, talent, and treasure.

Celebrate the generosity of others.

7. Generously share the gospel.

If you are a Christian, there is no greater gift you can provide than the gospel—that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose three days later. And whoever believes in Him can now have eternal life. Certainly, encourage the family to share the gospel with others, but be sure to lead the way. Let your family see you tell others about Jesus. Build a generous family by generously sharing the gospel.

8. Celebrate generous acts.

When you see your family being generous with their time, talent, or treasure, celebrate the act. Celebration encourages repetition. Without moments of celebration, burnout can occur.

So, when a family member gives to the church, celebrate. When your family member volunteers at the non-profit, celebrate. When your family member helps a neighbor bring in groceries, celebrate. When a family member gives away a favorite item, celebrate it.

The celebration doesn’t need to be extravagant. Celebrating generosity can simply be a few words of praise. Build a generous family by celebrating generous acts.

9. Know that biblical generosity is not about behavior modification but heart transformation.

God is not after generous works, but hearts. He desires hearts that are consumed with Him, and as a result, are generous with their time, talents, and treasures.

God is not after generous works, but hearts. He desires hearts that are consumed with Him.

As you try to instill a posture of generosity in your family, know that the transformed heart is more important than the generous act. Focus more on the heart than the behavior. This is God’s focus. Generosity flows from transformed hearts. Build a generous family by knowing that biblical generosity is not about behavior modification but heart transformation.

Art Rainer
Art Rainer

Art Rainer is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He writes and speaks widely about issues related to finance, wealth, and generosity, and is the author of The Money Challenge: 30 Days of Discovering God’s Design for You and Your Money. Art lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina with his wife, Sarah, and their three children.

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