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Teaching Children to Share with the World!

I can hardly remember the last time I opened up my Facebook without seeing an album entitled “missions trip”. Those Facebook albums filled with heart wrenching candids of malnourished children and families lined up outside of their straw-roofed houses gnaw at my heart and make me whisper a prayer of thanks, but does that change anything? Do my feelings and prayers of thankfulness change the reality of the lives those people in third-world countries are living in?

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The harsh answer is no, they do not. Still, I’m reminded that those heartbreaking feelings and prayers of thankfulness are the first step in fulfilling one of God’s greatest desires for our lives as followers of Him.

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It all starts with learning to share. As adults, we try to nurture this generous spirit when we ask our children to share Skittles with their sister, toy trucks with the neighbor, and a few bites of their ice cream with mommy. Teaching generosity and sharing is almost like teaching a habit, and the art of sharing takes practice before it can really become a part of our children’s lives. Even still, this “sharing is caring” spirit is limited to a small inner circle of people – neighbors, cousins, classmates, and so on. Sharing with the whole world, though? What does the Bible say about this? Can we make a difference in the lives of people we only see pictures of on the internet? The short answer is yes, and God’s Word has a lot to say about this resounding yes!

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Time and time again, God’s Word presents us with parables and stories of the simple practice of sharing our time, money, resources, and the Gospel. In Luke 10, the story is told of the Good Samaritan, a man who goes out of his way to rescue a Jew who has been robbed and beaten. Matthew 10:46 says that there is a reward for those who give even a cup of water to someone in need! Psalm 96:3 says that we should “declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all people.” Mark 16:15 says to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…” Luke 12:48 says that God expects those who have been blessed with more to give more! God’s Word says we can make a difference by simply obeying His call to give; we can change the world through our sharing spirits!

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Here are some easy ideas to get your children motivated towards sharing with the world:

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SAVE PENNIES: Consider buying a family penny bank specifically for missions. Those pennies add up, and before you know it, your whole family will have contributed to the work of a missionary in a foreign country!

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HAVE A DONATION PARTY:

Spend one whole Saturday rounding up some old clothes, toys, etc. that could be donated to a church that is in need of donations for an upcoming missions trips. Make it into a “party” by inviting neighborhood children to be involved.

ADDRESS AN ENVELOPE:

There are many organizations that allow you to sponsor a child in a foreign country. Let your child take this opportunity to learn the art of snail mail, address an envelope, and gain a pen pal!

 

READ ABOUT IT:

Taking the time to read both Bible verses about giving (Phil. 2:4, Deut. 15:10, Proverbs 22:9) and stories about real-life missionaries, both past and present, will excite and inspire both you and your children!
EXERCISE THE POWER OF PRAYER:

If your home church has missionaries that they support, consider making a list of a few that you can pray for with your child. This would be an exciting addition to your child’s bedtime ritual, and will develop in them a caring spirit.

AUTHOR

Haley Hamrick

A 23 year-old pastor’s wife, Haley is a teacher and nanny by day and a writer by night. With a degree in Family and Child Development from Liberty University, Haley loves encouraging both children and families in their walk with the Lord. Her repertoire of journals and notebooks attest to her deep love of dissecting God’s Word and finding new ways to apply it.

All stories by: Haley Hamrick