by Hellen Castañeda
Management Specialist and Tax Administrator, Colombia

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around”. — Willie Nelson

It is beautiful to be able to teach children to be thankful to God, because, as a result, they will learn to save their pennies and be able to actively help the work of the Master from their earliest years.

My mother worked as a teacher in the Christian School “God Is Love Christian School” in Bucaramanga, Colombia. One day, during morning worship, she told the children a story of how God blessed a family who faithfully gave tithes and offerings to God. The story goes like this: In a thriving village, there were locusts everywhere—in the fields, in the vegetable gardens, even piled up in the frames of the windows—but, worst of all, it was harvest time!

Locusts that tried to enter the vegetable garden of this Christian family, however, saw their efforts totally frustrated. These were the most beautiful vegetables of the area but, for incomprehensible reasons, locusts were not able to enter the garden and eat the produce. Neighbors were amazed!

My mother explained to the children that the secret was the family’s faithfulness to the Lord in giving tithes and offerings and that we too will be greatly blessed when we give to our heavenly Father what belongs to Him. Everybody agreed that what happened in this vegetable garden was truly a miracle!

The next day, the students received a wonderful surprise. A girl brought a piggy bank and invited everybody to deposit tithes from the money their parents gave them for snacks. Willingly and without any complaints, during that year many piggy banks were filled. The money was counted, then taken to church.

This unforgettable event has been told to many children, including my brother and me.
From earliest childhood, we were encouraged to separate the tithes from all the money that we received. We continue doing it to the present time.
This way, we see how our loving God is willing to work in the tender hearts of children. Through the work of the Holy Spirit they can learn to be men and women willing to cooperate generously with their money for the cause of the Creator and the Giver of all things.

Parents are responsible for encouraging little children by example; parents should model self-denial, generosity, and submission to the One who gave us everything, so children can continue with the legacy. The divine purpose is for each parent to be converted so that their children will also cultivate the habit of giving, for all material things are gifts from the great benefactor of humanity. Only in this way will children develop the habit of serving God first and then their fellow men. Sister White writes in the book Child Guidance that in every home there should be “a self-denial box.” Children should be taught to put in their pennies that they would otherwise spend for candy and other unnecessary things that damage their physical health and also their spiritual growth. Following this advice gave me a nice memory from my childhood, in which my broth- er and I practiced this important life lesson. With the help of our mother, we children decorated a box and labelled it “self-denial box.” It inspired us with the desire to deposit our offerings for the Lord Jesus.

It is wonderful to teach children that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), because they have receptive minds and are encouraged easily. Most importantly, this education will last their whole lives, and the name of the Eternal will be glorified even in the new earth.

by Hellen Castañeda
Management Specialist and Tax Administrator, Colombia

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