By Michelle S. Lazurek, Crosswalk.com
When children are younger, they rely on their parents for their every need. However, when they get to be in their teens, young adults are encouraged to get a job. This instills a hard work ethic and teaches young adults how to make money to earn simple pleasures and how to save money for a rainy day. All these concepts related to money are fundamental. Christian organizations also teach money to kids, including Dave Ramsey and Larry Burkett.
As a Christian family, giving a portion of income to tithe to the church is important. Tithing comes from scripture and is a way to bless God and others with your offering. Malachi 3:9-10 says, "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."
God wants us to honor every area of our lives, including our money. God loves to give good gifts to his children, and it is impossible to outgive God. As we increase our giving and become cheerful givers, the more God will bless us with additional resources.
Tithing not only helps pay pastor and staff salaries but also helps keep the building running so it can accomplish its work for the Kingdom. Just as parents try to teach their children how to be generous and good sharers, it is also important that they give generously to their local church. Here are some ways you can teach tithing while the child is young:
Take Ten Percent of Their Allowance
This might sound cruel, but if your child earns a certain amount of money per week for their allowance, take ten percent of it so that they know ten percent is dedicated to giving. If your child earns $10, take one. Put it away in a jar, and do whatever you'd like at the end of the year with the money. You can give it back to the child as a reward for being so generous. You can take it and put it towards a family vacation or something everyone can enjoy. The possibilities are endless! Not only will you teach them generosity and giving God what's rightfully his, but they will also receive a reward for their generous spirit. You can also reinforce the idea of this reward by showing them that God blesses his people.
Be a Good Example
When I was a child, I went with my grandmother to church almost every Sunday. My favorite part was putting my offering envelope in the usher basket. It felt good to know I was giving to my local church. At those early church services, I learned it was important to give what I had to help those in need, especially those within the church. The most important thing you can do is to be an example to your children. How can we expect them to give freely if they don't see you giving?
Just as we are to be Christ's example in every area of our lives, we can also be a good example through our giving. Although it takes faith to tithe, especially when money is tight, it demonstrates that God is a good God that provides for his children.
Pick a Cause
In addition to your local church, your family may want to choose a cause. Millennials and Gen. Z are two generations that want to know they're making a difference in the world. Adopting an organization like World Vision or Compassion to give financially to a child in need is a great way to show God's unconditional love for people worldwide. This is a tangible way for your children to see that their money can make a difference if used wisely. You can either choose to do a nonprofit organization, or you can choose to donate money to your community. Whichever cause you choose to adopt, do it together as a family. Adopt the cause and pray about it together as a family, asking God to make those dollars stretch to make a difference in the world around them.
Make a Budget
Not only is tithing good to start from an early age, but it is also important for your children to start budgeting at an early age. Kids don't see the need for a budget because most of their needs are still being taken care of because they don't have many bills to pay. They don't see the necessity of a budget. Help them divide their checks into appropriate portions so that every area of need is covered, and they may also be able to get a treat for themselves. As a family, create the family budget. Make sure to include tithing as one of the budget items. Treat the tithe as a bill. Commit to tithing for six months straight and see what God does with that money.
Allow Them to Do Extra
Just like in school, kids can sometimes do extra credit to make up for missed work; in the same way, kids can earn extra money by doing extra chores. Can they go above and beyond and do their chores excellently, raising their allowance or giving them a discount on the budget items? Whatever extra money they earn, they can either put it toward the tithe or one of their budget line items. If there's a surplus in any category, encourage them to pick another cause. There's no end to giving and making a difference. There are so many organizations that require funds; the little surplus your kids make could make a huge difference.
Help Out the Neighborhood
Not only can they do chores around the house for you, but kids can also do chores for neighbors. Elderly neighbors especially can use help around the yard. They can mow grass, plant flowers, or even do a whole garden. Pay them according to what the amount of work requires. Let them bask in the satisfaction of knowing that they did a hard day's work and were compensated appropriately.
When kids get older, it is harder for them to part with their money. They often want to spend it freely. By teaching kids to tithe, especially when they're younger, you are teaching them not only to be generous with their money would also help them give to important causes and help out their community all at the same time. By helping kids to tithe, they will have the incentive to attend church regularly and know their money is helping churches do renovations and make repairs in the building. They can take solace in knowing they had a hand in that repair.
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.