Teach Your Child to Make a Difference
Followers of Jesus give a portion of their income to meet the needs of God’s work and other people as an act of obedience and worship. In Genesis 28:10-22 we see Jacob making a vow to the Lord, worshipping Him and giving ten percent (also called a tithe) back to God.
In reality, teaching children about money through tithes and offerings is not about giving to God. It is about reminding ourselves that we are dependent upon the One who gives all good gifts and that we are mere stewards rather than owners. Giving reflects obedience, showing that we love a God who is worthy to be obeyed in all areas of life. It is also an opportunity to participate in something bigger than ourselves with eternal value.
Start by putting into practice the disciplines you want your child to learn. This may mean taking steps to become a better steward of your family’s finances. Let your child see that you first give money toward tithing, then savings and so on. In 2 Corinthians 9:7 the Bible says “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
If your child receives money from an allowance, jobs or gifts, take the time to help him or her divide the money wisely. A good place to start is to set aside 10% for giving, 10% for savings and 80% for spending on other activities and items. Use the Rolling in Money activity card and stickers included with this kit to make your own boxes to help them start the habit of good stewardship.
In addition to financial resources, God has also entrusted us with gifts, talents and time. As believers we have the great opportunity to worship and glorify God through the spiritual discipline of service. Help your child discover their unique gifts and explore how they might use those gifts to glorify Him. Use the Assessing Your Child’s Spiritual Gifts tool included with this kit to get started and then find ways to experience serving together. A few simple suggestions include…
- Shared Passion: Spend some time talking with your child about the things that interest and concern him or her. It will be more meaningful if you share a passion for the specific area of service.
- Good Fit: Help your child find good serving options. It can be as simple as baking cookies for a homebound neighbor or it can be an extended serving time such as a mission trip or meeting a particular need on a regular basis.
- Set Expectations: Put your child more at ease by explaining what to expect. If visiting a nursing home, for example, explain he or she may encounter odd sights, sounds and smells.
- Build Your Relationships: Take note of what your child does well while serving. Intentionally encourage him or her by saying you are proud of how they demonstrated a great attitude or area of strength.
- Be Safe: Keep a close eye on one another, especially children/teens if serving in unfamiliar settings.
- Talk About It: Ask questions when you finish serving together such as “What kind of difference did you/we make?” “Why was it important to do this project?” “How did it impact those you served?” and “How did it impact you/your family?”
- Pray: Take a few minutes to pray, asking God to bless those you served.
The next step on the Faith Path is Preparing for Adolescence, recommended at age eleven. We will offer a free Preparing for Adolescence kit to guide you. Request the Preparing for Adolescence by e-mailing our Next Generation pastor: Michael Beene ([email protected]).