Why I Don’t Teach My Children to Tithe
- Megan Pacheco Chief Learning Officer, Lead Like Jesus
- 2013 1 Nov
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” – Proverbs 11:24-25
Allow me to share with you a story…
One evening, right after our 7-year-old Joshua finished his reading for the day, we handed him his earnings - $0.50 to be exact. Many parents decide to pay children for chores. We decided to let Joshua earn money by reading.
As soon as he received his earnings I asked him: Joshua what do we do now? He immediately answered, give back to the Lord. He grabbed his saving jar, put the $0.50 cents in it and than he took out $0.30 cents and put it in his giving jar.
My immediate reaction was to stop him and help him understand that the tithe amount for the $0.50 he just earned is 5 cents, not 30! But I resisted. This happened few more times and I thought: this child will never save anything! So as any good mom would do, I snuck into his room one day and put few extra dollar bills in his saving jar.
As soon as I did that a thought came to me: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your Heavenly Father will give good gifts to those who ask him.” – Matthew 7:11
At that moment, I realized that as much as I loved watching my son give “freely” and without restraint, my heavenly Father rejoices even more when my husband and I demonstrate generosity that’s not based on the “math” or fear, but rather follows His prompting.
While watching our sweet Joshua give without concern for his savings, I learned a lesson about God’s kindness, His provision and His care for my family and me.
Many of us, because of our upbringing, our past, or even our denominational theology, think of giving as a chore - something to check off our list, something that possibly competes with our day-to-day survival - or it’s a way of receiving financial blessings as a reward for our generosity.
Worrying about the future, an unstable job market, and high levels of credit card and other debt consume so much of our day that generosity is left as an afterthought. In those few quick moments of watching my son give, I was pressed to look at myself, and the reasons that stop me from living every single day fully trusting that God really is who He said he was: My Provider; My Sustainer; My Protection; My Father who supplies every need of mine according to His riches and glory.
Larry Burkett, a great teacher on Biblical stewardship, used to ask this question: Do you really trust God, or do you just say you trust God?
Generosity, especially one that goes way above and beyond the required percentage, requires trust.
That’s why we’ve decided not to teach our children to tithe. Instead, we want them to learn to trust God by living out generosity outside of the set percentage. As long as we can, we want to cultivate that spirit of giving freely, above and beyond, while at the same time teaching them to trust God, not us, for the provision.
Hopefully, as we help our boys learn this valuable lesson, we will be learning with them as well while modeling the same level of generosity and trust that He who owns the “cattle on a thousand hills” will continue caring and providing for our every need.
Megan Pacheco is a writer and content manager for Finicity (provider of Mvelopes and Money4Life Coaching). She comes with 13 years of experience in the area of personal finances and her tips on budgeting, debt, saving, giving, money and marriage and more have been published by Yahoo Finance, AllParenting, FoxBusiness, DailyFinance, REDBOOK and others. You can contact megan at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: November 1, 2013