Recently I brought my youngest son with me to a BGMC event where we heard several missionaries talking about the needs they had in the place where they ministered. We were presented with an opportunity to set a goal on what we could do to help, so I talked with my son.
I was blown away by the number in his response. He wanted to do $30,000!
Could this be real?
I thought. He must not fully understand the value of a dollar. There is no way we could set this goal.
“How about $3,000?” I replied.
He was very disappointed, but agreed.
For about eight months, though, I had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind: “Did I rob my son of following what God had put on his heart?” I even teach parents not to do this, but I did the very same thing. I encourage them to walk with their child and nurture what God has placed in their heart. But yet, I violated this very principle.
Mark 10:13-16 shares the story of when parents were bringing their children to Jesus. The disciples began blocking them and received His rebuke. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10: 14,15, NIV).
Had I just become like one of these disciples? Had I blocked my son from making such an audacious goal that only God could help provide? Did he have more faith than I had? These were the questions that whispered in the back of my mind.
Finally the conviction set in, and I determined that we would in fact declare his goal of $30,000 for this missions project. He lit up and agreed. God also began to give us a plan.
Though we’ve not yet met our goal, I’ve discovered that sometimes the hardest thing to sacrifice in our giving is our selfishness
I didn’t want to fail. I didn’t want my son to fail. I didn’t want to sacrifice. But the truth of the matter is, I was more interested in trying to rationalize my response to what God spoke than I was in being truly sacrificial in our giving. When we model sacrificial giving, and build the confidence in our kids as we journey with them, it sets them up for years of impact in giving.
My goal now is to fan into flame the dreams God places on his heart—no matter how scary they might be.
Here are some tips to help you raise a child to be a sacrificial giver:
1. You go first.
Make sure you talk about what and how you give. Let the kids know that you give your tithe back to God. Then let them know that missions and the needs in the church and community are on God’s heart, so they should also be on our heart.
2. Build confidence.
As they begin to earn money, help the kids find a way to save a little bit each time. As the money grows, celebrate when they reach milestones, and let them know they are making a difference in the world.
3. Use Scripture.
Never forget to tie your actions and beliefs to the truths contained in the Word of God. Let the kids know this is the reason you do the things you do.
So … will we raise $30,000? I sure hope so. But if we don’t, we will have worked together to fulfill what God placed on my son’s heart instead of what I rationalized was possible.
Will you do the same?
Want to explore additional goals for your children’s ministry? Visit our 8 Goals for AG Kidmin.
8 Goals Resources: MyHealthyChurch.com/8goals
8 Goals eTraining