It is not only better to give than receive; you will find yourself more wealthy. The concept of wealth through giving seems contradictive. However, charity is an important part of real success.
Proverbs 3:9: “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
Start By Giving
I am not going to argue that all charity is rewarding. However, this bit of wisdom focuses on starting with charity. Instead of giving out of your leftovers, you give from your “first fruits.” Thus, you budget with compassion coming first, then bills, commitments, savings, etc. This does not mention what we all know. It is easy to send all of your money to bills and everywhere except charity. Thus, charity is quickly kicked down the road when it is a secondary consideration. Also, giving charity out of your wealth (leftovers) does not have the same impact as charity first.
This verse will possibly be a hard piece of wisdom to pass on since we often struggle with it. Charity is something we do because we can, not because of our desire to help each other. That is not to say there is no sacrifice involved. However, we pick and choose when and where to be charitable. True wisdom tells us always to be charitable first. When you think of others first, they are more likely to do the same. This proverb follows the same sort of wisdom as loving others.
Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is
In case you missed it, the key to all of this is using your wealth as a statement of your love for others. We are not spouting some mere platitude about thinking of others. It is putting your money on the table and buying in (literally) to the idea. The importance of this approach is not to “wow” others. This method is how you show yourself that you are honestly looking out for your fellow man. The confidence that comes from this is important. We must be sure of ourselves, our motives, and our character as we grow in wisdom. Otherwise, we might just be playing a part and are a fool in disguise.
Teaching Children this Wisdom
It is hard to teach children about the value of that first dollar you earn. They rarely have an opportunity to make even a dime. The charity of children often starts from the charity others have shown them. Instead of pushing your kids to give, model this behavior. Show them the fun and warmth giving brings. Make them hungry for opportunities to give.
I think a great exercise to show this is a “pay it forward” action. This action is where you help a stranger without receiving any thanks or credit. It works best in a drive-thru. When there is a car right behind you at the pay window, the business will already know that customer’s bill. Ask to pay their bill as well as your own. Do not hang around, just pay and drive off. By the time the customer realizes what happened, you will be long gone. Make this a sort of prank idea to your kids. Make jokes about the shock on that person’s face. Yes, it is laughing at others. However, it helps bring levity to the situation. You can later go deeper and talk about the possible impact of that gift. Maybe that person was scrimping their last dollars for that meal or simply needed a win. Make up a good story and your children will become hungry for more.