From a young age, my parents were very clear about the importance of giving to the needy. As soon as we had any source of our own money, they taught my sisters and me the biblical principle of the tithe — giving ten percent of our money to charity (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26). So when we earned babysitting money, we automatically set aside a tenth of what we made for charitable giving.
However, my parents were not interested in merely teaching us to give our money to charity. Their ultimate goal was for us to become generous people — people who looked past our own desires and concerns and saw the needs and challenges of others. There was no better way to teach us this lesson than through their living example.
I remember one particular night, as I lay in bed, there was a knock on our front door. My father was sitting on the edge of my bed, singing me to sleep, while my mother was busy puttingmy sisters to bed. My father got up from our nighttime routine to answer the door, finding a complete stranger who he immediately realized was there to ask for charity. This was actually very common in Jewish communities where the needy felt they could ask for help from fellow Jews. Most people handed the beggars some money, wished them a good night, and got on with their busy schedules.
But not my parents.
This is an adaptation of Yael Eckstein’s upcoming book, Generation to Generation.
Yael Eckstein is the president of the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews. As President, Eckstein oversees all ministry programs and serves as the organization’s international spokesperson. She can be heard on The Fellowship’s daily radio program airing on 1,500 stations worldwide. Before her present duties, Yael served as global executive vice president, senior vice president, and director of program development and ministry outreach. Based in Jerusalem, Yael is a published writer, leading international advocate for persecuted religious minorities, and a respected social services professional. As President of The Fellowship, she also holds the rare distinction of being a woman leading one of America’s largest religious not-for-profit organizations. www.IFCJ.org
Read more at How my parents modeled generosity with money and time.