Six ways to leave a legacy of generosity

One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. Psalm 145:4

“I recently had the privilege of sitting down with David Green, CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby Stores. David and his family are widely considered among the most generous families in the U.S. with regard to funding faith-based projects…His new book, Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again…talks about (among other topics) leaving a legacy.

1. Make generosity a family priority…The habits we instill in our children as they’re growing up become a true part of their identity. Teach them to be generous when they’re young and they’ll grow up reaping all the benefits of generosity and faith. And if you teach them a variety of ways to be generous, then let them follow their own calling — they’ll learn to choose how to give rather than whether to give!

2. Do what the Bible says about generosity…The Bible repeatedly mentions generosity and giving. We need to help our brothers and sisters consistently, regardless of our own struggles and trials. We can’t expect God to reward us when we’re focused on our own well-being alone and not helping those around us. Let generosity overpower greed — and live the life of giving that God has called you to.

3. Understand that generosity is eternal…Invest your life in giving, and you’ll not only see the benefits for years to come — your generosity will also be rewarded in the afterlife. A lifestyle of generosity is one thing money can’t buy — and it will produce super-valuable benefits from this life into the next!

4. Put generosity before your own success…It’s easy to tell yourself that you don’t have enough money to be generous, especially in a culture where so many people define themselves by how much money they have — the world’s definition of “success”. . . As a child of God, you live by a different standard: In God’s economy, generosity has much higher value than success or wealth.

5. You can be generous without being wealthy…Truly generous people don’t let their own “lack” keep them from living a life of generosity. Sometimes money isn’t what we’re called to give. It’s amazing to see how God can work through people in ways that don’t involve money at all. Even when you’re in financially tough times, you can be generous in giving of your time and talents.

6. Generosity is a gift…It’s easy to get caught up in the activities of life and make excuses about why you can’t be generous at the moment. Maybe you’ve had a hard week at work, or your in-laws are in town, and the last thing you want to do is your weekly volunteer shift. But when you feel your generosity is a burden, take a step back and remember Whom you’re working for: The Lord!”

Timothy L. Smith in “Six Ways to Leave a Legacy of Generosity” Crosswalk blog post dated 25 April 2017. Special thanks to my pastor friend, Scott Bailey, for alerting me to this article.

This morning I wrap up my teaching session in Milwaukee entitled, “Good and Faithful: Building Good Stewards, Faithful Marriages, and Fruitful Families.” Part of my focus today links to challenging people to leave a legacy by doing intentional, practical things as families to nurture generosity.

Did one of these six points from Smith and Green resonate with you? If so, lean into it. Think about practical ways you can make that point a reality in your life. Talk about it with your spouse or entire family, and pursue applications together. Do this to leave a legacy for the Lord!

Some of you might discuss how to deploy surplus funds you have for God. Others might read through a Gospel together and take turns sharing verses about giving. A few might consider generous acts you could do to bless a neighbor or friend. What will you and your family do?

Legacies are made not by doing big acts but by doing many small ones with love over time.