The story of Drew Formsma’s generosity starts three generations before he was born. Drew’s father, Brad, would ride with his grandfather delivering bread on Saturday mornings. On these mornings, grandpa demonstrated the generous life in a multitude of ways.
Sometimes the fresh bread was accompanied by an envelope with money, other times a listening ear, a wise word, encouragement, or even a letter of recommendation. Grandpa would look for opportunities throughout the week to put his generosity into action.
Brad picked up on this way of living – open-handed, generous with your time, money, reputation, and whatever you have to give.
Drew, along with his siblings (Older brother Dan and younger sister Gracie), learned a lot about giving by watching his parents model the generous life. After church one Sunday, they passed a movie theater with little signs that the church was meeting for the first time. Drew’s parents said, “We feel like God wants us to give the church planter some money.”
“We didn’t even pull into a parking spot,” Drew says. “My dad walked straight up to the pastor and said, “I hope this encourages you,” and handed the man a check for $1,000.
In the car, Drew asked, “Dad, why did we do that? That was a lot of money for a church we don’t even go to.” His dad answered, “God put a nudge on our heart to encourage that pastor because we are truly all in this together.”
Continuing the legacy of generosity
Drew is a fourth-generation giver. He’s been observing generosity in his family for as long as he can remember. What he realized by the time he hit his mid-teens was that it was shaping who he was. “I’ve been brought up with a foundation of generosity, and I am continuing to grow,” he says.
Though he never met his great grandfather, the one who delivered bread out of that truck, he remembers following his grandmother around a nursing home she used to visit, reading to people, delivering books, listening and talking to them.
“I don’t think she even knows the impact it had on me,” Drew says.
When Drew was 14, he was riding in the car with his Dad to speak on giving, and his Dad asked if he ever wanted to share a giving story on stage. He wasn’t nervous at all when the time came, and he hasn’t stopped speaking about it since.
By 16, he’d published a book encouraging people his age that it’s never too early to start giving.
Drew’s just begun his first year of college this year. A month into the semester, he’s already organized a service trip with his friends. “We’ll be giving 350 meals to families in need in Oklahoma City. My friends are excited about it because serving changes our perspective on life and our heart’s position.
Drew says it’s important for young people to take the initiative and start the journey of giving today. He believes not only tithing to the church, but he has a heart for Bible translation and everyday generosity. It’s like a muscle that needs to be used to continue to grow and become stronger. Every day we have the opportunity to build our giving muscle and be a blessing to others.
The earlier you start living generously, the more likely you are to continue living a generous life. And it’s easy to do. Drew says there are seven easy things each person has that they can use generously:
Whether you are raising up the next generation as parents or grandparents, be encouraged. Teaching generosity to the next generation just means living it as naturally as you can, letting your kids see how you give. Give in secret when God calls you to, but sometimes give so you can display Christ’s light for them. Take it from Drew: “It doesn’t matter how much it is. It’s the disposition of your heart.”