Read to Your Kids: Bible Passages on Generosity

Emily Corey and Beth Ann Murphy

We give to others in response to God’s amazing generosity towards us.

Generosity is frequently modeled in the Bible, but it can be easy to miss. As you begin to create habits and have conversations with your children about generosity, read these 4 biblical passages with your kids to help them cultivate gratitude and selflessness.

Not all of these examples are focused on giving money or resources. We know these are important, but it’s just as beneficial to give our time and talents as well.

1. Mark 12:41-44 (NLT) – The Widow’s Offering

Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

God reminds us that giving our resources is all about our heart’s posture and our attitude. It’s good to ask ourselves, “Am I giving because someone told me to or am I giving because I want to spread God’s love to others?” We don’t have to compare our giving with other people’s giving. Instead, we should generously give to God because we know how much He’s given us.

2. 2 Kings 4:1-7 (NLT) – Elisha Helps the Widow

One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the LORD. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.”

It can be easy to worry about if we’ll have enough when we decide to give to others. We can use this as a reminder to remain faithful and continue to give what God provides, whether it’s our time, our talents or our resources. Anyone can be generous during any season of life.

3. Matthew 18:21-22 (NLT) - Peter Asks a Question

Then Peter came to (Jesus) and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”

This is an example of how God is generous to us with the gift of forgiveness. We were given this gift before we were born! Because God sent Jesus to the cross to die for our sins, it’s our mission to show the gift of forgiveness to others through our actions and our words.

4. Luke 10:30-37 (NLT) – The Good Samaritan

Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

By caring for the needs of others and serving those who need help, we can make a huge difference in the lives of the people around us. Oftentimes, there are opportunities that are easy to pass up because of busyness or selfishness. Giving our time won’t always be easy, but it can make the biggest impact.