GIVING & SERVING
Teach Your Child to Make a Difference
Recommended for ages 9+
God blesses and entrusts each of us with time, talents, and treasures. Look for opportunities to teach your child to be a good steward of these blessings from the Lord in a way that will honor and glorify Him.
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 John 3:16, we see that God is the ultimate giver because he gives us Jesus, His one and only son, so that we can have life. We give because He first gave to us. Although we can never approach the magnitude of God’s sacrifice, we give the best of what we have to Him as an act of worship. 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 managers 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, 20% for savings, and 70% for spending on other activities and items.
Use the Rolling in Money idea below to help them start the habit of good stewardship.
ROLLING IN MONEY
Use as a family night activity with younger kids to help them understand the value of good stewardship.
- Go to the bank and withdraw as many one-dollar bills as you can. (Don’t worry—you’ll return most of it the next day.)
- You’ll need to label three boxes or jars: GIVE, SAVE, and PAY for each child.
- Create an envelope titled “God’s Instructions for Money” with several notes containing Bible passages with instructions on how to use the money.
- Malachi 3:10 = Give 10% to God
- Proverbs 30:24-25 = Save 20% for the future
- Romans 13:8 = Pay your bills (List several pretend bills such as $500 for the house payment, $150 for food, $150 for the car, etc. Make sure the mock bills add up to almost the entire cash pile—leaving only a few dollars free.)
ROLLING IN MONEY FAMILY NIGHT
Hide the pile of cash someplace in the house and invite the kids to find the secret treasure. When they find the money, allow time for them to go crazy!
Invite the kids to count the treasure promising them they will be able to spend it on anything they want AFTER following God’s instructions for money.
Have the children count out enough one-dollar bills to meet each financial obligation described on the three notes—10% for tithe, 20% for savings, and enough for each of the “bills.”
Give each child the remaining cash to spend as they please. Needless to say, they will be a bit disappointed. But they will also better understand real-world expenses and our responsibilities as stewards of the money God gives.
End your time creating “Stewardship Boxes” or “Stewardship Jars” with three labels for the categories GIVE, SAVE, and PAY. Have the kids use the three categories whenever they earn money or receive their allowance.
Memorize the following jingle together… “Before your spend away—give, save, and pay.”
In addition to financial resources, God has also entrusted us with time, talents, and relationships. 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. 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 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.