It takes special effort to teach children about stewardship as a Christian practice and responsibility. We instruct children to take care of their toys and clothes. We share ways to care for the earth through recycling and protection of endangered animals. Teaching stewardship of money is harder, especially when the advertising we see each day suggest that we will not be happy or successful unless we have the latest and greatest of everything. 20 years ago, we thought that everyone knew that sharing, giving to those who had less, and caring for the earth were Christian values. That is not as evident now. Due to the emphasis on materialism in our society, it is even more important today to teach children the importance of giving while they are young and before they are caught up in a culture that teaches them to constantly strive for more material possessions.
How can we promote generosity and compassion in children and teenagers? As Believers, we need to be challenged by Jesus’ teachings about our relationship with money and set an example that children and teens can follow. One way is to help children experience the outcome of their generosity. Bring them with you when the food pantry is open to see their contributions being distributed. Share Bible stories related to stewardship to illustrate this principle. For example, in Exodus 35 the Israelites gave their possessions and abilities to build the tabernacle. If you make a donation to an organization in another country, share articles with them about the ministry. Seeing lives changed by generosity is a powerful motivator.
The lessons we learn as children stick with us. There is a vast majority of Believers not giving to God’s work. It may be that they were not taught to give when they were children. Let’s work together to teach and challenge the next generation of Believers to be faithful stewards of all that God has given them.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6