Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The other day at lunch with some friends, we got into a discussion about how the relatively inexpensive way we can live here impacts how we spend. For one family who hasn't lived here long, it's brought up questions of how much they should give to their kids. Just because they are suddenly able to afford to give their kids more, should they? It was an interesting discussion about the balance between generosity and frugality, and when you cross the line into spoiling, or the other direction, being stingy.

In the end, our conclusion of the matter came down to heart and freedom - what is our heart in spending or giving? Is it to attain security, to gain material goods? Are we giving to our kids without teaching them gratitude, value, how to live simply? While I may have the freedom to spend or give, there are times when it is wise to refrain, or even to splurge.

I was surprised to find myself in the minority as we explained family backgrounds. Most of my friends came from families where their parents were extremely tight with money, even stingy. Although my parents have always been quite frugal and wise in how they spend their money, they were incredibly generous with us. I don't just mean giving us material things. They were generous with their time, their energy, the opportunities and experiences they provided. They certainly taught us to be wise stewards of our money, but any decision to withhold something from us was explained in terms of its value. Over the years, as their resources have multiplied, the evidence is found not in the material ways they live, but in how they give even more of themselves to the people they know.

I think what impressed me most about our dinner table conversation is how it reminded me of the character of God. I see God as a generous God who loves to give good gifts to His children. When I look at Scripture, I don't see a God who is stingy. I see a God who gives when giving is unmerited, undeserved. He gives and gives and gives. In this aspect, my parents have been a reflection of God to me. They have been wise stewards who pour themselves out for others, and I am incredibly thankful today for that example.

1 comment:

Four Buttons said...

amen sister! that's the God I see too, because that's who He is. He gave so much to THIS unmerited, un deserving child. this gave me something to think about today, thanks Gina! miss you :)