Proverbs 3:9 “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;”
Honoring the Lord with our wealth is not primarily a monetary issue but a heart issue. First of all, God doesn’t need our possessions and money. He is God. He is Self-Sufficient. He is the Creator of All and the Owner of everything. But giving a tenth or more from all that we earn is our act of worship towards God. In fact, it is the first visible act of worship. It is acknowledging that all that we have comes from the Giver of all good gifts – God. It is accepting that all that we have is not ours to possess. Most of all, it is confessing that money is not our god but the One who has given us all things.
I’d like to emphasize on the word “firstfruits” from the verse. In a practical sense, it simply means that we don’t give to God and His church only after we spent for ourselves and the family. It is giving to God first before our expenses. Matthew Henry comments,
“God, who is first and best, must have the first and best of every thing; His right is prior to all other, and therefore He must be served first.”
When we give to the Lord before we give to ourselves, we are actually declaring to God that we trust Him to make up for what we have surrendered to Him. We are trusting God to supply all our needs according to His riches and glory.
And if we are faithful to give to the Lord, Proverbs 3:10 tells us that God will bless us. He will bless us not only spiritually but also physically. He will give us an overflow of blessings just as long we give Him our first and best.
So the challenge is, how do we teach this to our kids?
We have to practice it first. We cannot teach something we are not doing. Nor can we teach them not to do something when we are doing it. It is like telling your child not to smoke while you are about to consume a stick of cigarette.
Matthew 6:3 says not to let your left hand know when you give. But when they were younger, we intentionally let our children see when we tithe. We even ask them to place the tithe in the tithe box. Before letting them tithe on their own, we had to teach them why they should be doing it and how.
So here is how we taught them.
These are the things you will need aside from the Bible or a printed copy of the verse:
- Pack of 100 pieces of m&m’s for every child. We used Nips since it is way cheaper – mommy hacks. Haha 🙂
- Used and clean tin cans
- Markers and colored paper or cartolina
After we had dinner, Vincent and I told the kids that we wanted some dessert. Vincent then got two packs of 100 pieces of Nips. We clarified that it was OURS.
As expected they ASKED for it. Vincent told them that we would give ALL the 100 pieces of nips to them if they gave us TEN (10) pieces of it.
This was intentional because we wanted them to learn these truths:
- God is the OWNER of everything.
- When we need something we ASK God by PRAYING.
- When that prayer is met and we receive a blessing, we honor God by giving Him a TENTH or even more from ALL that we received from Him.
We explained to them that our giving to God doesn’t mean that God needs the money because He owns all things but in giving to God a tenth or more of the blessing He has given us, it is showing God that we love Him more than the gifts He has given us.
So they gladly gave us 10 pieces of the nips that we asked for. In fact, when Zoe saw that there was so much left, she wanted to give us more.
In application, we asked them to make their own “tithes” saving can.
In the next seven days, we will be giving them 10 pesos per day. They will get 1 peso from it and safe keep it inside their tithes saving can until Sunday.
When we go to church, they are to give their first tithe to the Lord.
Indulge me by praising God with how my kids have been responding with Proverbs 3:9. We had this devotional last August 2018 yet this really made an impact on them. Allow me to share three testimonies of how my kids gave to the Lord.
During Caleb’s birthday last September 2018, one of his godparent gave him a certain amount as a gift. After church while discussing where we will have dinner. He said, “Mommy, minus the tithe, use my money for our dinner please.”
I replied, “Caleb, it’s ok we have money for tonight.” But he insisted. This really made me tear up.
Zoe received a blessing one Sunday morning from a kind lady from church. In the afternoon when we went back to church, she immediately got a tithe envelope and gave 10% of what she received.
Of course, with my help in computing how much. It wasn’t much but the Lord saw her heart. She told me “Mommy, you shouldn’t call this “tithe” but “for God”.
Lastly, in our recent trip to Hong Kong, we visited our outreach there. A random sister gave Caleb and Zoe HKD 30 each.
Without any of us reminding them, Zoe gave HKD 10 and Caleb gave everything to the Lord.
I encourage parents to continually plant seeds of the truths in the Bible in our children’s hearts. It is God who will cause it to grow.