Lord, Make Me a Generous Father
“Lord, make me a generous father.”
This is a prayer I’ve been praying recently. I started praying it because I read Jesus’ description of our heavenly Father in Luke 11:11-13:
“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
It’s my responsibility as a dad to teach my kids, both implicitly and explicitly, what their true heavenly Father is like, and it is a mighty responsibility. It takes my breath away to consider that, whether they know it or not, the primary way my kids are learning about their Father in heaven is through their father on earth. So what kind of Father is He, and therefore what kind of father must I strive to be? Among other things, He is a generous Father.
This whole passage is about giving gifts; not paltry, surface-level gifts, but real ones. Good ones. Extravagant ones. And, as these verses tell us, not always the gifts my kids have in mind, but gifts nonetheless. That’s what led me to the prayer – that I would not be a stingy father, but a giving one. A father who is marked by generosity with his children.
But I also am beginning to think that we define generosity too narrowly; we think about it in terms of the tangible and even monetary, but it goes well beyond that. Money might be the most easy measure of generosity, but it’s certainly not the only one. In light of broadening that definition, here are three areas of generosity for me to grow in as a dad:
1. Time generosity.
This one is both easy and difficult at the same time. It’s easy because time is a commodity that everyone has, but it’s hard because it’s also the commodity that we tend to hold most tightly to. At least I do. There are a limited number of hours in each day, and I am finding it more and more difficult to relinquish my strangle hold on mine. But our time, as fathers, it one of the truest measures of our affection. We might give financial gifts all day long to our children, but do we spend time with them? Time doing what they want to do? Their activities? Their interests? Their passions and pursuits? All of those things have a cost to them, and the cost more times than not is our precious time. I pray the Lord would make me generous with these minutes I have.