This section provides Bible stories with the theme of generosity, along with questions you can use as a guide for family discussions. Choose one that is most appropriate for your children. Before reading aloud, take a few minutes to review the story. If the Bible passage is too complex for your kids, paraphrase the story yourself or use the summary provided under “key concepts.”
Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-7.
When we give to others, even when we think they don’t deserve it, it is called grace. God demonstrated grace when He sent Jesus to die so our sins could be forgiven. It is called grace when God forgives our sins, even though we deserve to die for our own sins. We practice grace when we share God’s love with others through forgiving them. It is important to excel in faith, in speech and knowledge and in love, but it also important to excel in the grace of giving. Giving can be giving money, but it can also mean sharing what we have and sharing God’s love by forgiving those who have hurt or upset us.
God is generous and He wants us to be generous too. One way He rewards our generosity is by taking care of our physical needs. The best thing about being generous is that when people see our generosity, they will thank God.
Read Deuteronomy 24:19-22.
Essentially, God commanded the Israelites to be generous with others because when they were slaves in Egypt, they were at the mercy of the Egyptians. God wants us to be merciful to those less fortunate than we are. “He says blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7). We can intentionally be considerate of those less fortunate by giving generously to those who are poor.
Read Ruth 2 and Deuteronomy 24:19-22.
Boaz was a successful farmer. He had much land, hired hands and animals. He noticed a woman picking up the grain that was left over after the harvesters had been through the field. He instructed the harvesters to be generous and leave extra grain for the woman. He did not even know that she was a potential wife. God chose to bless the generosity of Boaz by giving him the young, beautiful woman as his wife. Boaz was just being generous – not expecting anything in return for his kindness – but God chose to bless Boaz with a wife. God promises to reward generosity (Proverbs 14:21).
Read Matthew 20:1-16. Then tell this “modern” story about a similar situation, or make up a story of your own that your children will relate to:
One Saturday, Dery’s dad needed help cleaning the garage. It was nine in the morning and Dery agreed to work until noon for $5. Halfway through the morning, Dery’s brother Keaton offered to help, too, so their dad invited him to come and join in the work.
By lunchtime, all the work was done, and the dad called the boys to the table. “Thank you, my son, for helping” he said to Keaton and handed him $5. Dery was watching and was surprised that Keaton got paid $5 for only working half of the time.
“Surely Dad will pay me more than $5,” he thought.
But when Dad turned to Dery, he handed him a $5 bill, too. Dery was about to complain, but then he thought that it would be better to be quiet. He knew he had been given the amount he had agreed to work for. If his dad wanted to be generous with Keaton’s pay, who was he to complain? After all, there had been many times his father had been generous with him, too.
God wants us to be content with what we have rather than complaining and looking at how generous He has been to others. As long as we are comparing what we have to what others have, we will never be content.
Read Acts 8:9-24.
Simon was attracted to the power that Peter and John had through God and the Holy Spirit. He wanted it because he thought that he could make money by laying his hands on people and filling them with the Holy Spirit, too. Peter told Simon that he had the wrong motivation for wanting the power of the Holy Spirit. We don’t know for sure if Simon repented, but we know that if he did, God would graciously forgive him and change his heart.
Read Luke 16:19-31.
Lazarus was a very unfortunate beggar who was poor and sick. But there was also a rich man who did not share even the crumbs from his table with Lazarus. Years later, after the rich man and Lazarus had died, the rich man was suffering in hell and Lazarus was in heaven. When the rich man asked for mercy to be granted to him, Abraham, who has in heaven, said no, because in the rich man’s lifetime, he did not share the good things he had with Lazarus, who was poor and sick.
Read Luke 12:13-21.
A man came to Jesus, hoping that Jesus would make his brother share his inheritance with him. Jesus told him a story about a rich man who had such a large harvest from his crops that he had to build more storehouses to hold all his grain and his many possessions. Then God said to the man that his life would be taken from him that night. Jesus ended the story by saying, “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
Read Matthew 19:16-30.
The rich young man had lived a very righteous life, but he had one problem – he loved money. Jesus asked him to sell all he had and give it to the poor. Jesus did this to show the rich young man that in order to please God, nothing can be more important than loving God. God looks at what is in our hearts, not just at what we do. God wants us to love Him more than we love money or anything else.