When I was a kid, my parents gave me an allowance. A huge, mind-blowing amount of money that left me spoiled rotten.
Even when I was a kid, that wasn’t much money. I remember my friends getting $5 per week. And other friends getting $10 or $20 for every ‘A’ they got on their report card. That made my $2.50 look puny.
But I loved getting it, nonetheless. I’d have my eye on a new video game, or a Reds cap, or a G.I. Joe, and I’d stash my money away in my top drawer and watch it grow. Ever. So. Slowly.
Every week, my dad would give me two one dollar bills and two quarters. “Son, do what you want with this. But this (he’d say, holding up a quarter) is to give back to God.”
See, tithing is difficult enough. So my parents made it a bit easier by giving me money in denominations that were easily broken into percentages.
10% of $2.50 is $.25. Boom.
I’d take my $.25 and stuff it in the offering envelope, seal that thing up, and away we’d go. It became a habit, a regular part of my life. I grew to have a healthy understanding of money, and living generously. It was easier to give because:
1. The money didn’t feel like it was “mine” that I’d earned or deserved … it had come straight from my dad’s hands.
2. It went straight from my hand to the offering envelope.
Because giving became a part of my life from such an early age, even when I was older, and making money “of my own,” giving to my church was an expectation I had of myself. It wasn’t, and isn’t, easy (in fact, I’ve found in my life that making more money doesn’t guarantee that generosity is easier). But it’s much easier than if it hadn’t been built into my life from an early age.
I’m convinced that one of the major roles of parenting is teaching our children to learn to obey God. Not in an overbearing, exasperating, constantly hard-nosed kind of way. But in a way that is full of grace, mercy, and truth.
Obedience is hard you too, right? Whether it comes to obeying God in your finances, in your marriage, in your job, with the amount of food you eat or the kind of media you consume, obedience at nearly every level is difficult. We’ve got an enemy that prowls around like a lion, ready to devour us. (1 Peter 5:8) The same is true for our children. So let’s make it as easy as we possibly can for our children to obey us (and, by proxy, God).
Obedience isn’t easy, so don’t make it harder than it has to be. When it comes to tithing, our greed and proclivity to covet makes obedience especially difficult. Let your children see how easy it can be to give, helping them develop good, God-honoring habits early on in their life.
It is true:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. —Ephesians 6:1
But parents, let’s do our part to make that as easy as possible. Don’t stop with financial obedience! Remove barriers, crack strongholds, and clear pathways in more and more areas of their lives.
Our children will thank us later.