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Giving to God--Lessons from an 8-Year Old  

How good are you at giving to God?

This week, I was schooled by an eight year old.

Joslynn and I sat down to play “Money Matters for Kids,” developed by Christian Financial Concepts.  The game feels a lot like Monopoly, but with entirely different objectives.

Your goal as you wind your way around the game board is to set aside enough money that you can give away $30, save enough to pay for a toy you want, and also have enough cash on hand to pay for living expenses.

Too Focused on Winning

Naturally, I wanted to win the game, so when I had amassed the $30 for giving (but not yet fulfilled the other game requirements) I confess a sense of disappointment when my roll of the dice landed me on the “Give to Church” square.  Too focused on “winning”—I regretted having to start again from scratch.   

By contrast, I watched as Joslynn landed repeatedly on the same spot on the board.  But her reaction upon learning she would surrender her saved up cash was, “Great!  Look how much I can give away!”  I wish you could have sat there on the carpet with us to see the smile on her face.   At one point she gave $50, then $8.  At another moment I heard her count out (excitedly) “90 dollars!  Yay!  I get to give 90 dollars!”

My Inner Grump

Her bubbly enthusiasm was a contrast to my inner grump. You may be tempted to chalk all of this up to the innocence of youth, presuming that Joslynn does not fully understand the value of a dollar.  Not so. She does chores, saves her money—but gives it freely.  

Of course, anyone can be generous playing with fake money rather than real green. Yet this same eight year old was recently at a Cracker Barrel restaurant and bought a toy for her two siblings as well as herself!

If it’s true that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7) then life’s ultimate winners are those who give with the biggest smile. 

Thanks for the lesson—and that huge smile, Joslynn!


Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  --2 Corinthians 9:7


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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