Should I Teach My Children To Tithe?
By Fin Sheridan
Let’s talk about pocket money. Growing up, we were given pocket money that related to our ages. I think it started when I was 10 years old – I got £1. My brother was 8 so he got 80p. A fortune – we felt like kings. I’m a spender so mine never made it into my moneybox; it was gone in an instant, although what a ten year old spends £1 on, I’ll never know.
There was a principle that we were introduced to at the same time as receiving pocket money and that was tithing. My mum sat us down and told us about how, in this family, it was important to say “thank you to God” for giving us money. She explained that the way to do that was to give a tithe or “a tenth” of what we had, back to him, through putting our money in the offering bucket on a Sunday morning.
To our little ears, this was the most exciting news. Every week, at church, the offering buckets were passed along and we looked enviously as people got to put their money in. Now, we too could join in! We would take our little wallets to church, get out our tithe and, when the wooden bowl came passed, we would put our tithe in – just like the grown ups did.
Sure enough, Sunday came and proudly, beaming with delight, we placed our pennies into the bucket. We’d needed no encouragement – it really was a joy to give.
“Generosity and giving are principles of the Kingdom of God”
Fast forward 17 years. I have a full time job, earning a bit more than £1 a week and instead of pennies in the bucket, my tithe is done through online banking. And, if I’m honest, there have been some times where that gleeful toddler hasn’t been so glad to give; when the bills mount up or when the sales are on or just when I’m worried about the future.
Yet I was trained in the way I should go and truly, it has been hard to depart from it. I’m dubious that ‘tithing = blessing’ but I do know, as I’ve tried to be faithful in honouring God with my money that I have seen him bless me and some of that blessing has been financial. God has provided, is providing and, I believe, will continue to provide. I can trace the decision to stick with giving, even when it was hard, to those moments as a little boy.
Parents, whatever amount you give your child and whatever the terms of that giving are, ask yourself – is now the time to talk to them about tithing? Generosity and giving are principles of the Kingdom of God. If we don’t teach them to our toddlers and teenagers, the culture around them will all too happily teach them instead.
As they grow up and start earning, they will have to make decisions about their money; what they do with it and what they believe about it. It’s never too early to start to start a conversation about those beliefs and to encourage them to consider what God says about money.