Developing our generosity skills

April 22, 2015 | Viewpoints | Volume 19 Issue 9
Marlow Gingerich,

An early sign of spring in southern Ontario is seeing sports teams move their practices outside. The sight of children and youth in colourful uniforms on the soccer pitch is a sure sign that May is here. I am actively involved in our local soccer club and both my children have played for years. I have enjoyed watching youngsters develop their skills over time. For the very young, this is a time of learning fundamentals from patient coaches and parents. More experienced players receive instruction to help fine-tune their skills and tactics. The players’ relationship with the coach is significant in their development.

How do we develop our skills in the area of generosity? Perhaps a parent modelled faithful giving to the church. Maybe a friend or colleague challenged you to stretch your giving to support an important one-time project. Along the way, many of us recognize the importance of open-handed kindness and the sharing of our resources.

At Mennonite Foundation of Canada (MFC), we work alongside and coach individuals, helping them understand that giving is an act of worship. We believe God invites us to give of the first and the best of whatever we have; this is a critical component of God’s call to us.

During private consultations, MFC clients sometimes share their story, explaining how they developed their level of generosity. They express gratitude that someone taught them to give of their time, talents and resources. Some also express concerns for future generations: Who will speak to our teenagers, young adults and newly married couples about becoming faithful givers? Who will help them recognize an opportunity to challenge themselves and grow in their commitment to living generously?

Many Canadian families rarely talk about money in any constructive way. It is a tough, uncomfortable topic that often feels too personal. But in the right context, sharing those concerns and feelings about money can open the door to new insights about the true value of money and the joyful experience of sharing.

In the soccer community, we are always looking for coaches who are caring and patient, but who also have the ability to challenge players to develop new skills and strategies. In our church community, we also need mentors who can nurture, encourage and gently challenge others to develop their giving. We need people who are willing to begin those awkward and uncomfortable conversations with a desire to help others grow in their understanding and practice of faithful stewardship.

Do you have experience and knowl-edge you can share with others? Are you willing to step forward to coach the next generation, teaching them the skills of generosity? Perhaps you know someone who is passionate about kingdom work, but needs a little nudge to help them consider how they can support their passion.

Proverbs 22:6 instructs: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Who will step forward to coach the next team of cheerful givers?

Mennonite Foundation of Canada has several resources to help you begin the conversation on faith and finances, including God, Money and Me. These resources are free to download at MennoFoundation.ca.

 

Marlow Gingerich is a stewardship consultant at Mennonite Foundation of Canada (MFC), serving generous people in Ontario and provinces to the east. For more information on generosity, stewardship education, and estate and charitable gift planning, contact your nearest MFC office or visit MennoFoundation.ca.

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