Whether you teach a Sunday school class or just take your kids to church, you'll need to explain the concept of stewardship, which involves sharing the material resources we hold. When children learn how to give tithes and offerings at a young age, they carry the practice into adulthood. Like many other subjects, kids aren't going to remain interested in lessons on stewardship unless you make the lessons engaging. In the end, the children should understand the concept that a tithe is equivalent to 10 percent of what you have, while an offering is what you give above and beyond that 10 percent.
Give each child a children's Bible and read aloud Malachi 3:10 while the kids follow along in their Bibles. Explain that God is instructing each of us to bring our tithe to the storehouse, which is another word for church. The children need to understand first that tithing is a command given by God, just like honoring your parents and not telling lies.
Hand each child 10 chocolate chips. Tell the children to pretend that the chocolate chips are dollars they earned for a job, like walking a dog or raking the neighbor's leaves. Read aloud Proverbs 3:9-10, which talks about honoring God with your firstfruits. Ask the children to put the first chocolate chip you gave them aside. Let them know that this is the tithe, or firstfruit from the work that they did. This is what belongs to God.
Have the kids pass around a plastic cup and have each child place his firstfruit in the cup, as if they were taking part in giving their tithes in a church service.
Tell the children to eat five of the chocolate chips. The five chocolate chips represent the food and bills they need to pay from their paychecks. Ask them how many chocolate chips remain. They should have four chocolate chips left. Set two stuffed animals on the table. Tell the children that the animals are hungry and have no money to buy food. Read aloud 2 Corinthians 9:7, which states that God loves a cheerful giver. Give the students an opportunity to share some of their leftover chocolate chips with the starving animals. Explain that this is an offering because it is above the tithe that they gave earlier.
Read the children the book, "My Tiny Book of Tithing" by Marion Passey, or have them listen to the CD "Adventures in Odyssey 718: For Three Dollars More." This will further reinforce the lessons on tithes and offerings that you taught previously.
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- Older children can substitute pennies for the chocolate chips.
- Ask the Pastor to come and explain some of the things for which the church uses the tithes.
Catherine is an Operations Manager at Leaf Group. Prior to this role, she wrote and edited copy for a bicycle company. She graduated with a BA from UCLA.