It All Belongs to God
“Mine!” 2-year-old Jessica shouts as she snatches the stuffed bear from another child’s hand. At age 2, Jessica thinks everything she sees and wants is hers. This is normal age-appropriate thinking and behavior for a 2-year-old, but if encouraged and indulged, Jessica will probably grow up to be a selfish, self-centered adult.
2 Corinthians 13:11 NLT says, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” One of the “things” includes a selfish attitude. As we grow and mature, we realize that everything is not our. As a matter of fact, it is all God’s! According to Psalms 24:1, God owns everything. All the land, all the water, all the buildings, all the cars, all the houses, all the “everything” belongs to God. And He wants us to take care of it all.
Stewardship is taking care of something one does not own. From teaching toddlers to pick up toys to involving preteens in mission projects, we train our children that it’s all God’s and He has given us the privilege to take care of it for Him. Teaching and training children to be responsible stewards begins in the nursery and continues throughout our lives.
How can I help children become good stewards?
Encourage a sharing attitude by providing practical opportunities for children to share.
- Snack time. Give half of the children a snack that can be easily divided into two portions.
- Ask the children with snacks what they can do to make sure that everyone has a snack.
- Activity time. Have children work in groups and share supplies rather than working individually.
- Sharing projects. Give children opportunities to share their gently used clothing, toys and books with needy children in the community.
Involve children in decision making regarding giving projects.
- Share a specific need with the children and let them brainstorm ways that they could help meet that need. Then as a group choose which would be the best way then begin working together to meet the need.
- If the entire congregation is involved in a giving project, let the children determine how they will raise funds or what specific aspect of the project they will contribute to.
Share Bible truths related to stewardship. Use Bible stories to illustrate these truths. For example:
- Bible truth: When I give generously I work with God to accomplish His plans.
- Bible story: The Israelites Give of Their Possessions and Abilities to Build the Tabernacle, Exodus 35
Emphasize the importance of giving to the local church. Many times we allow children to focus on specific giving and sharing projects but do not encourage them to give to the local church. But it is also important that our children learn that their offerings are needed within the local church so that the church can continue providing ministry to them and to others.
- Weekly offerings. Consistently give children an opportunity to give weekly. Each week share one of the ways their offerings are being used— building maintenance, supplies and equipment, provision for specific ministries, etc.
- Prayer time for the local church. Let the children work with you to make a list of all the great activities they have experienced in the local church (i.e. fellowship dinners, musicals or plays, festivals, campouts, Bible school, etc.) Then talk about the ways the local church has changed the lives of people in the congregation, community, and around the world. Add these to your list. Remind the children that as they give and serve in the local church they are helping these things come about. Pray together for the local church’s ministry and mission.
Stewardship means demonstrating that everything one is, one has, and one receives belongs to God! Christian stewardship is using everything as God wants the believer to use it. Children need to understand and be given opportunities to practice Biblical Stewardship.