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"Strong Enough to Last" by David Boyd

Strong Enough to Last by David Boyd, national director of BGMC

Chapter 10: "Giving Selflessly"

We’re all selfish by nature, which means that giving selflessly is not a natural trait whether you’re five years old or fifty. Isn’t that why we have to teach our kids as early as toddlers not to hoard their toys but to share them with others? Today’s media-driven society strives to convince our young people that life is “all about me.” Expensive shoes, clothing, toys, and gadgets surround the average teen, and Christian kids are often swept into this same lifestyle.

Compassion is the biblical value that teaches us to care more about others than we do about ourselves. Interestingly, it seems that compassion can be taught and caught if it is emphasized while kids are still young. Kids can become individuals who give selflessly.

Teaching kids about the lost people of the world stirs something godly in their spirits. When they learn about the plight of underprivileged kids around the world, who live without shelter, clothing, food, or water, something stirs in their hearts and compassion is born. Kids begin to care at a young age. Caring is followed by praying. Praying is followed by sacrificially giving, and giving is followed by going.

Statistics show that many, many kids who were taught about missions not only developed a heart of compassion at a very young age, but continued on this missionary journey their whole lives. Not only did they become missionaries, they lived for God their entire lives. A heart filled with godly compassion became a steadfast anchor throughout their lives.

My wife, Mary, and I lead the kids’ missions arm of our fellowship called Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC). When children hear about the needs of people around the world, they learn to care about others. Once they care, they want to act. It’s a God-given passion that resides within them—ready to be touched by the Spirit of God. This action is at the heart of Christian discipleship. When Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan, He taught that the essence of a true believer is a willingness to act on behalf of the needy. All other religiosity is false. The priest and Levite in that story didn’t act like Christ because they cared for themselves but not for the man on the road who desperately needed help. When a child chooses to pray for the lost, it is because the child has begun to care. Caring is at the heart of compassion. A child with a compassionate heart begins to see that life has value when it is spent serving others.

That’s why giving selflessly is such an important goal to teach kids. When we teach them to care about the lost people of the world, the poor of the world, and the needy people in their own towns, we help them to understand that each of us has value in God’s kingdom. We give them the opportunity to become like the good Samaritan.

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