“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us…!” 1 John 3:1
It’s no coincidence that we started this week’s look at generosity with a story about a little boy. Children are often our best teachers.
Years ago during the week of my birthday, our family decided to go for a leisurely stroll through our local shopping center. Ryan, who was eight at the time, opened his piggybank and took out five dollars he had been saving for something special. As we walked along, window shopping and enjoying being together, Ryan announced that he wanted to have some time alone to go to the toy store and pet shop. We set a time and place where we would meet, and off he went. In about thirty minutes, he came walking up with a grin that stretched from ear to ear.
Ryan said, “Here, Mom, this is for your birthday. But you can open it right now!” By the look on his face, it was obvious that he felt strongly about my opening the gift right there in the middle of the mall. So we found a nearby bench. He announced his present had cost a lot of money. (He had spent the entire five dollars on it.)
As shoppers filed by, he watched excitedly while I carefully unwrapped the package. Gazing down at its contents, I was suddenly filled with emotion. His present wasn’t anything he could have found in a toy or pet store. It wasn’t even something you’d expect to receive from an eight‐year‐old boy. There in my lap was a lovely desk set. The ostrich‐feathered white pen looked like an old‐fashioned quill that Ben Franklin might have used to sign the Declaration of Independence. The stand was padded in matching white, with a spray of pink flowers delicately painted around the edges.
My eyes brimmed with tears as I hugged and thanked my son for such an extravagant gift. It has been many years since that day, and I still treasure that pen as a reminder of Ryan’s spontaneous gift of love.
Most of us are too inclined to keep our purses or wallets shut tight against the opportunities for giving that are all around. Or when we give, we give what’s convenient or interesting to us, not to the recipient.
In our marriages, we have so many chances to practice childlike, unrestrained generosity—with no ulterior motive, necessity, or expectation in mind. The more we give and receive that kind of love, the more we will experience the love of God in our homes. I think the apostle John had something like “unrestrained generosity” in mind when he wrote, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).
- Shirley M Dobson