I remember going to church as a little girl and putting my offering in a little Bible bank like the one above. It was never much. When I was really small, my parents gave me a quarter to put in the offering container each week. No doubt, I didn’t understand exactly what I was doing or why I was doing it, but I did understand that when you went to church you got to bring offering and you got to put it the bank for Jesus. Never once do I remember thinking that I had to put the money in. Not at all, I remember that I got to put the money in, and I loved it. I loved bringing even that little bit in every week and bringing it to Jesus.
As a teen, I learned to give generously and first to God. I still felt it a privilege to give back to God from what He had given to me. Then for a few years my head, my heart and my life grew cold to God, and I struggled giving Him anything at all. When I first returned to my faith and the One who saved me, I still had a bit of trouble giving. I wanted to give. I wanted to tithe, but that 10% seemed like so much to ask. Then one day, I realized I would rarely get out and go to a sale that had only 10% off, because 10% was so little. I figured a store could surely do better than that. Ten percent?? Well, that was almost like cheating your customers.
Enter the Holy Spirit.
For at that time I realized that 10% was actually a very small amount to give to God for all He had done for me. In fact, perhaps, I was almost cheating Him by giving so little. It was at that place in my life that I began to understand more the purpose and joy of giving.
Giving to God is a way to show honor, respect, and thanks. It’s a way for me to help others through His church, the same way someone else’s giving has helped me. It’s a way to meet spiritual and physical needs, and it’s a way to live out taking the good news into all the world.
Knowing that most of what a child believes is ingrained in their brain by the time they reach twelve years old, we need to begin to teach our tiny tots about giving when they are well, tiny tots. How can we begin to teach our children about giving? Here are a few things that I remember helped teach me about giving.
Ten Ideas for Helping Your Children Learn to Give it Up for God
1) Model giving. Allow your children to see you give joyfully and regularly. We never need to be afraid to give. God promises to meet all our needs, and to never leave us or forsake us.
2) When they are small give them a small amount of money to put in the offering each week. When they are older, teach them to give from their allowance, gift money or paycheck.
3) Teach your children what offering money is used for. Introduce them to missionary families your church supports, help with outreach services of your church like the food pantry, talk to them about how offering is used to help people learn about Jesus and how offering helps your church building to have heat, air conditioning water and toilet paper!
4) Affirm them when they want to give of their own initiative. Praise the giving spirit within your child.
5) Share stories of people who have been helped through giving to your church. This will build your faith as well as theirs.
6) Be patient. We are living in a material world, and yes, we are material girls (and boys). It may take time for generosity to grow within your child.
7) Pray for a generous, thankful heart to grow in your child. Prayer is powerful and generous, joyful people are a blessing to be around.
8) Encourage your children’s pastor to continue to teach on giving. Children need to hear God’s truth from more than just mom and dad.
9) Give to needs outside church, too. Help your child to understand that God wants to meet needs at church and outside of church, too. Bell ringers, emergency causes, homeless shelters, para church organizations and sponsoring children are all ways to give on top of regular church giving.
10) Teach your children that giving to God is a way to praise. Teach them to “give it up for God!” Because He is a God worthy of our praise.
1 Corinthians 16:2
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;…
You can still buy Bible and church banks at http://www.churchsupplier.com Ha! Who knew? I’m seriously thinking about bringing back the Bible bank at our church. Old school is almost always cool!