Unrestrained Generosity

“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

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bible Gateway

Confident Parents

“Blessed is the man…whose confidence is in [the Lord].” Jeremiah 17:7

Matt, visiting his parents with his wife and two young sons, was in a reflective mood. While taking a walk with his father, he remarked, “You know, Dad, while I was growing up, I sort of had the feeling that you didn’t have a clue about this parenting stuff. But now that I’m a dad myself, I’m starting to change my mind. You’re getting smarter every year!”

Raising healthy, educated, self-disciplined children who love God and their fellow human beings may very well be the most challenging responsibility in living. It’s an unbelievably complex assignment. And of course, the job is even tougher in a culture that tries to undermine everything we do at home. Yet too many moms and dads today are complicating the task by taking on unnecessary guilt, fear, and self-doubt. I don’t believe that is what God has in mind!

The Scriptures clearly tell us that children are to be considered a blessing from God (Psalm 127:3–5), and that the privilege of raising them should be a wonderful, joyful experience. He has granted parents the authority to raise their sons and daughters: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). And when parents depend on Him to teach and lead their families, they can act with confidence: “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:4–5).

We will make mistakes in bringing up our kids. Fortunately, however, we are not asked to do everything perfectly as moms and dads. Our children usually manage to survive our mistakes and failures and turn out better than we have any right to boast about. They may even figure out that we did know what we were doing most of the time!

When problems flare up in your family, I know how easy it is to second-guess your parenting decisions. But God did not entrust you with this job by accident. As long as you choose to obey the Lord and dedicate yourselves to raising your children according to the principles outlined in Scripture, no one can better fill the role of parent for your wonderful sons and daughters than you. When you are confident in Him (Jeremiah 17:7), you can be confident parents.

– James C Dobson

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bible Gateway

Day By Day By Grace

May 13
“I will take the cup of Salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.” — Psa_116:13.
“And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many unto remission of sins.” — Mat_26:27-28.
EVERY CHRISTIAN disciple should partake of the Lord’s Supper regularly. It is a Sacrament. In the days of the Roman republic, the youths were brought to the altar and sworn to serve their country to the death. So our first Communion is our oath of allegiance to our King, It is a proclamation, or confession, of our faith. We bear witness to the death of Christ as our hope of forgiveness and salvation. We testify our desire to put His cross and grave between us and the world. It is also a bond of Christian union.
It is a Pledge of the Covenant. The Death of the Cross was God’s sign and seal to the new covenant, the provisions of which are recited in Heb_8:1-13. When we drink the wine it is as though we said: “Remember thy Covenant.” Let me appeal to all, and especially to the young disciple, to draw near and take the bread and wine, and to meditate deeply and reverently on that supreme Gift which demands our self-giving. “What shall I render unto the Lord? I will take the cup, I will pay my vows” (Psa_116:13-14).
The expression in this Psalm is remarkable: “I will take the cup of salvation.” When we enquire what salvation, we read: “Thou hast loosed my bonds” (Psa_116:16), and we are reminded of Rev_1:5, “Unto Him that loveth us and loosed us from our sins by His blood.” We are tied and bound by our sins; our sinful habits bind us fast in our thongs. But our Lord looses us by His cross.
Notice how triumphantly the Psalmist avows his loyalty to his Heavenly Master. Again, and yet again he avows: “O Lord, truly I am thy servant. I am thy servant.” And we are the servants or bond-slaves of Jesus. If it be asked what “the sacrifices of thanksgiving” are, we may reply: First, the sacrifice of ourselves (Rom_12:1). Next, the sacrifice of our praise and gifts (Heb_13:15-16). Not grudgingly or thoughtlessly, but with cheerful eagerness, let us come to the altar of God. Because of all we owe to Him, let us never cease to live and serve, to praise and give.
We pray that we may eat and drink, and do whatsoever we are called to do, in remembrance of Christ, and to show forth His life. May the spirit of worship pervade every act of daily life. AMEN.