My family added to our Thanksgiving weekend tradition by doing something new we learned from our friends who have a good bit of family wealth. They meet periodically and discuss all the different organizations that ask them for money. They have a big meeting and present the ideas to one another, advocating with the whole family about specific projects. Then they decide as a family how to give their money away, even though most of the money given away was made by the grandparents in this situation, they include the whole family in the decision.
Now, I don't consider the five us us in my immediate family to have "a lot of family wealth," but we got to wondering if maybe we should begin practicing this financial intentionality with what we have already. We figure it would teach some generosity principles to our kids too. So on Sunday afternoon we laid out a bunch of Monopoly money on our kitchen table with post-it notes attached to each pile of fake cash. The notes show how much money we made, how much we give to our local church each paycheck, and how much we spend on our home. We also had college, car, and vacation savings in there too. And of course, taxes.
Then we talked about what we were going to do with another stash of money we had saved up all year long. We gave some of that "funny money" to each person around the table, and said they could give that wherever they wanted, and then we started to present ideas for giving to each other. After a time of prayer, we opened up a folder of all the requests we were given and talked about each one. Then everyone gave their opinions, moving the fake money (that represented real money) around the table. Our 14-year old at one point said, "I think we should help those who help others, and that way help more people." That became a bit of a theme of our meeting and influenced many changes in where we were giving. One thing I really wanted to give to got out-voted, and something else that was presented captured a few hearts and got more money. There were several surprises and it was a whole lot of generous fun. After prioritizing and moving a few things around, we had a list of places to direct these funds towards, and my wife started to translate those decisions piles of "funny money" into real checks and cold hard cash we are sending out this week.
Why don't and your family join us in generosity this Christmas season and intentionally give where God has directed your heart?
“I judge all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity.” - John Wesley
I'm not saying you need to give to these causes, but I thought I should share a few of the efforts my family chose to give to this year in case you wondered:
Sponsoring a child through Hope for Children (of World Hope International)
Individual members of our family also chose to give their part of the funds to a few other organizations, including "Feed my Starving Children" we recently volunteered for, "MUGS" (a coffee shop ministry our friends are starting in Ohio), and "Tamar's Voice" (an organization working with abused women). Stop and pray now about how God might be directing you to give to these and other very worthy works of God in this season.