By Michelle S. Lazurek, Crosswalk.com
As parents, it is important to teach your children not only essential character traits like sharing and telling the truth but also the basics of the Bible. This includes the practice of tithing. God wants us to give our money not only to help our local church body, which has been entrusted to give money to help proclaim the gospel, but also to other places in the world that will help make a difference and make this earth a little more like heaven. This is important to teach them from a young age. Here are five reasons to teach your kids how to tithe:
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1. Model It
The best way to teach your kids how to tithe this is to model it. Kids learn by example. If they see their parents giving a portion of their income to help their local church body, more than likely, when they get to be an adult and find their own church body, they will want to give to it as well. Be a family that gives to your local church first. While Scripture is not clear that you must give all ten percent of your first fruits to the local church, the church can use it the most because it helps pay for the building and any repairs, plus the salaries of the staff that delivers a sermon to you week after week. Although the church is not a business, the basic operating expenses must be viewed that way. Basic business principles tell us that you have to bring in more money than you spend in order to make ends meet. Churches are no different. Although many churches can testify they have seen giving come from the most miraculous places, it's no excuse for you not to give your own money and resources to help the church. Clergymen must make ends meet as well. They must have a salary commensurate with their experience and expertise in studying the Word. Every person who gives their money to church helps the people live and put food on their tables for their families just as you do.
2. Meet Emotional Needs
Some people have experienced church hurt that prevents them from fully giving their funds to the church. They either don't like the direction the church is going, or they have unresolved conflict with someone in the church. Either way, they choose not to give their money as a sign of rebellion. But Jesus calls us to live in freedom, which includes our money. Ten percent is a lot of money to give. But it is a sign that we trust God enough that he will provide for our every need, even if we give some of our money away. Before you decide to refrain from giving, go to the Lord and ask him if any unresolved emotional needs in your life need to be met. If you're holding on to anger, bitterness, rage, sadness, or hurt of any kind, it will affect your perspective on where to give your money. Run to the Lord to allow him to meet your needs. Don't keep your money simply because you have unmet emotional needs that need to be resolved. Part of being a mature disciple is to know the difference.
3. Follow a Budget
Financial experts like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman provide budget templates that help you figure out how much of a percentage of each portion should be given and to where. This includes charitable donations. Scripture says you must give ten percent of your income. If the rest of the columns of your budget are being followed properly, you should have no problem giving this amount away. But this is easier said than done. Rising costs due to inflation have made those percentages obsolete. For example, one of the most significant percentages of your income should be given to your housing, whether it's to repairs or to paying the mortgage. By their calculations, your income should not exceed paying more than thirty-six percent towards your housing. Having said this, federal rate hikes may increase this percentage, allowing less money to go away. Furthermore, food has doubled in the past year, as have gas and heating. Understandably, your budget might be tighter than it has been in past years, and that's not your fault. If you find you can't only give thirty-six percent to your housing after several tries, do what you need to do to give as much money away as possible.
4. Give to Other Charities
Even though you should give ten percent of your income away to your church, this doesn't mean you're giving has to stop there. If you have more money to give away, demonstrate what it means to be a cheerful giver by giving to additional charities. Take on a cause for your family that you all can invest in. Encourage your children to invest their allowance and encourage them to get additional jobs doing chores for friends or even a side job (if age appropriate) to give to this extra cause. It will make everyone feel as though they're making a difference in society and demonstrate that you cannot outgive God.
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5. Study the Word
Malachi 3:9-10 is the best example of what it means to demonstrate God's goodness to you by giving the best of everything you have earned back to God: 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."
Furthermore, 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." God loves a cheerful giver. When you don't feel like giving, give anyway. It will help you become less selfish and more others-centered. Just because you don't feel cheerful about giving doesn't mean you shouldn't. It simply means God doesn't want money you are reluctant to give him. It is the same with your relationship with him. He is not interested in having a relationship with someone who only wants to get to heaven. He wants people who want him, and he will come and have fellowship with them—a relationship with those who want him back. Teach your kids to give money because you know he will provide for you in miraculous ways, not because Scripture simply says so or because someone tells you to do it.
Tithing, like every other spiritual discipline, is one that my regular practice and a good understanding of Scripture will become part of your weekly routine when it comes to your money. Be a family that practices all the tenets of the faith, not just some. This includes tithing. Be a family that gives your money away and gets on their knees to ask the Lord for their daily bread, rather than a miser who withholds their money because of their lack of faith.