How to Teach Your Children to Tithe in the Digital Age
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion” (2 Cor. 9:11)
As a child, I had friends who received an allowance that their parents encouraged them to tithe from. I always thought that teaching your children to tithe from their allowance was a really good method. During elementary school, my parents would give me money for my report cards if I made A’s or when I wanted something to put in the offering at church, but it wasn’t until high school that I began tithing. I wanted to give because I saw my parents and other children giving. Generosity was exemplified in my home.
These days, we don’t see Sunday school offering plates being passed too often. Some churches have replaced offering plates with text giving and mobile apps. Churches rarely have young children in the main service to see their parents giving.
Money is becoming intangible in much the same way that God might be for a child. I don’t give cash or write checks to my church, ever. So, if my son doesn’t see me giving monetarily with my hands how do I model and teach tithing? My son doesn’t see the coins and dollars entering in the plate or bucket. The most he may see is me entering numbers on my computer or phone while I donate to my church’s bank account. Giving digitally can be very difficult for a child to comprehend.
So what can we do?
First, we teach our children that giving is an act of worship to God as we give thanks for all he has already given us.
2 Corinthians 9:12 says “This service (Giving tithes and offerings) that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”
Whether we give digitally or physically, we are not only serving God but praising God. So, we explain that giving is one way we thank God for all that he has given us. It is important for a child to know it is from God that we get everything in the first place. Through tithing, we are giving him back a portion.
Second, we explain that giving is a way of serving. We explain to our children that Christ calls us to be his body and that we each have a part to play and an area to serve in (1 Corinthians 12). We are called to serve Jesus, the church, and the world.
Lastly, but just as importantly, we focus on the outcome. As we give, we tell our children, “This is for the pastor to have a meal. This is so the child in Haiti has medical assistance. Son, this looks like numbers on a screen to you but this money means a retired pastor has groceries this month. This is providing clothes for the orphan in Guatemala. This monetary gift is water for a family in Kenya.” We focus on the outcome because really, that’s the purpose. We want those working in God’s house not to go hungry. We want the orphan and the widow to be taken care of.