A few weeks ago, as a result of an unexpected gift, we gave each of our kids $20. I told them that they could do whatever they wanted with it, but they had to spend a few days thinking about it and asking God what He wanted them to do.
Honestly, I was not going to sway them at all what they should do. This was as much an experience for them as it was a way for us to get a peek into their hearts.
I had this idea a few years ago, and wrote about it on an old children's ministry blog. I will re-post it below (with edits) and then talk about what happened this time around.
Seeking God with $20 (adapted from 2009)I had been trying to figure out how to redeem our family's time and money during this Christmas season. Plus, God had shown me that I have not led and shepherded our children well in a few areas, particularly in the areas of prayer and money. So, I came up with a way to combine all this into one "project."
I explained to our three kids that I was going to give each of them $20, and they could use it on whatever they wanted. If they wanted to save it, or spend it on themselves, or give, or buy something for someone else, that is fine.
I did not want them to do anything based on what they thought I wanted them to do. The only thing they had to do was consider what God wanted them to do. Normally, they feel so much pressure from me to "do the right thing" and "be good kids," but they need to learn that they should seek to please our Lord. Before anything else, we need to seek Him and His will.
When I did this two years ago, Hannah immediately said that she was going to buy a gift for her best friend. Elijah said that he was going to give it away. I asked them if that's what God wanted them to do. They were confused, since those were "good deeds." I explained that those were good choices, but they may not be want God wants at this time.
Soon, Elijah asked, "But can I ask you for advice?" What a great question! Of course he can, but only after he learns to ask God. Within 10 years, I will no longer be a primarily authority figure in his life; I will be in a role of delegating responsibility, and later we will be in partnership.
This project was a great opportunity to sow nuggets of truth as we seek to disciple our kids according to Deuteronomy 6:7 - "Repeat [these commands] again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up."
What we hoped our children would learn through this endeavor:
- Whatever we do with what God has given us can be an act of worship. That could mean sharing, saving, or even enjoying His blessings.
- Just because something is good does not necessarily mean that God wants you to do it.
- I will always love them, no matter what choices they make.
(You can read about the results of this project from 4 years ago.)
What They Did with $20A few days after I gave them this "assignment," I asked them what they came up with. We went from oldest to youngest (so the youngest could have a chance to observe and learn).
- Hannah wanted to use the money to make something to give away. After brainstorming with us, she decided to use the money to buy fabric so that she could sow skirts for some of her best friends (Greenville and Allendale). We thought this was a great way to combine generosity with her God-given skills.
- Our boys were more "by the book." Elijah gave $11 to God (i.e., the local church), $6 to savings (they want a new Wii remote), and kept $3 for himself. Great.
- Sender gave $5 to the church, $5 to savings, and kept $10 for himself. Also great.
A very simple project, that you may want to do before the end of the year.