I taught my son to use the toilet so he wouldn’t be wearing diapers forever.
I taught my son to say “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” so that he will be polite and well-mannered.
I am teaching my son to read so that he will be a literate, productive citizen.
And I am teaching my son to tithe so that he will be a man who loves God and submits himself to the leadership of our Lord.
Every parent knows the importance of teaching potty training, manners and literacy. They are necessary skills for life. But few parents recognize the importance of teaching tithing. Contrary to popular belief, tithing has very little to do with money. Instead, it has everything to do with the heart.
God does not need our money. He does not need the 1¢ my son will drop in the offering plate. What he wants is our hearts. He wants my heart and he wants my son’s heart.
God knows that we value money. He understood it so well that he gave us over 800 verses of Scripture to help us understand how to use money in a way that honors him. If God thinks it is that important, shouldn’t we obey?
God gives us everything we have. To some he has entrusted more and to some he has entrusted less. I want my son to understand that no matter how much or how little he has, it is from God. God asks only that we return the first 10% of what he gives us. Not because he needs it, but because he wants us to recognize he is the source of it all. He allows us to keep the other 90% for ourselves.
It is all about having your heart in the right place. A heart that is willing to trust God. A heart that is willing to obey God. A heart that puts God first and all else second. That is the kind of heart I want my son to have.
By the way, my son is four. We are starting small: an allowance that is easily divided into ten (10¢ in pennies works for us). I explain that God asks we return one out of every ten to him. He can easily understand that if there are ten pennies, one should be given to God. I also explain that one way we can return it to God is to give it to the church to use. Then we take the penny with us on Sunday and give it in the offering.
Simple lesson, but how much easier is it for him to start with a penny, then increase it to 10¢, 50¢, $1, $5 and so on. It is a lot harder to teach a teenager to be faithful with his $10 or $20 if he hasn’t first learned to be faithful with his 1¢.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10