Biblical Generosity takes this to an entirely new level. Biblical Generosity focuses on God as the original generous Giver, a loving Father Who demonstrated His love for us in so many ways. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God” (I John 3:1, NIV).
God’s most lavish gift to us was in the person of His Son, Jesus, Whom He sent to bear the burden and the penalty for our sins. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NIV).
How do we grasp the Father’s lavish love, this most generous act in the history of the world, and convey that to the generations that follow? Simply put, how do we teach Biblical Generosity?
For the T. W. and Laurel Francescon family, wrestling with that concept has become an entire family project. T. W. and Laurel recognized God’s ownership of everything they have, and wanted to be more intentional and generous in the way they gave back to God.
They reached out to The Generosity Trust (TGT) a few years ago and opened a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF). TGT helped them streamline their giving into their Fund, helping them to honor the Lord with their firstfruits.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (Malachi 3:10, NIV).
“Giving through our Donor-Advised Fund with The Generosity Trust has freed us up in so many ways,” said T. W. “We put our gifts monthly in the fund, schedule our grants out to our church and other causes – Christian and secular alike – we want to support, and TGT does the rest. We get a consolidated giving statement at the end of the year, showing the gifts we put into the fund that count for income tax purposes. We don’t have to keep up with all the checks and all the receipts and bank statements to demonstrate our giving. TGT makes it so easy to develop a proactive plan for our giving.
Getting the Whole Family Involved
A Donor-Advised Fund alone, however, wasn’t enough for T. W. and Laurel. They truly wrestled with how to pass their love of giving, and their love of generosity, on to their three children, to help their children know that God owns it all (Psalm 24:1), and that they were simply called to be faithful stewards of all He had entrusted to them.
So, they turned to The Generosity Trust once again. And TGT scheduled a time when the entire family could get together, and help them walk through what a Biblical journey of generosity looked like – one appropriate for the children at their ages.
Laurel said, “TGT helped us get to the heart of the matter with our children. We give because God gave. We love because God is love. We serve because Christ served us.”
TGT helped the Francescons open three new Donor-Advised Funds, one for each of their children. T. W. and Laurel made the initial gift into each of those funds, and then began the process of walking with their children on the “whys” and the “hows” and the “wheres” of giving. And most importantly, on how their giving reflects the heart of God as the original generous Giver.
“Biblical Generosity is so much more than simply giving to your church and to a few of the causes important to you,” said T. W. “Yes, that’s important. TGT also helped us think through how to prioritize our giving, bringing it in alignment with God’s generous heart. We are hoping that our children get a glimpse of God’s generous heart, and we believe one way they can do that is by participating in directing some of God’s money to organizations, which they value, from their respective funds.”
Let My Heart Be Broken
A phrase that is often heard around the TGT offices, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God,” originated with Dr. Bob Pierce, the founder of both World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse. We often repeat that mantra with our donors, challenging them to go into their prayer closet and ask God these simple yet challenging questions:
“Lord, You have entrusted me with Your riches. I recognize I am a steward, not an owner. What do YOU want me to do with the riches You have entrusted to me? What is breaking Your heart, and how do You want me to give Your resources to causes that are helping to bring healing and joy and restoration to those things that are breaking Your heart?”
For each of us, the answer to that question will probably be different. For some, God wants them involved in eradicating homelessness, or confronting human trafficking, or caring for single moms and widows and orphans. For others, God has instructed them to release His riches into Bible translation and printing and distributing and teaching and preaching His Word. For others, it’s challenging some of the injustices in society today, and trying to bring God’s wisdom to bear on the problems.
There are no wrong answers. It just takes a ready heart and a willing ear to hear from God.
It’s a Journey, not a Destination
T.W. and Laurel, and their family, are learning to listen to that “still, quiet voice” of God, directing them how and where He wants them to give. They know it’s a journey, not a destination. But it’s one they have embarked on as a family, and one that, T. W. and Laurel pray, will be life-altering for their children as well.
“Teaching your children how to give and where to give and why to give – those are eternal lessons they will carry with them for the rest of their lives,” said Laurel. “We are so grateful that TGT makes it easy for us to walk with our children on this journey.”
If you would like to know more about how TGT can walk with you and your family on this journey we call Biblical Generosity, please let us know. We’d be honored to help you in any way we can.