I’m working on a lesson on Tithing/Giving for a series we are doing on Spiritual Disciplines. After going back through some passages on giving and tithing, I became stuck. How do I make this not about checking the box for my students? How do I move past the legalism of tithing?

Then I came across a quote by Rob Bell about “the thing behind the thing”. Meaning, what is is behind giving/tithing that God is really getting at. God wants our trust. By giving to the church and others, we are showing that we trust God to trust him. God wants our sacrifice, he wants to know that He means more to us than our money. God wants our acknowledgement. He is the giver of all good things, and therefore all we have is not ours, but ultimately Gods. God wants us to practice generosity.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” – 2 Corinthians 8:9

If I want my students to move passed the legalism. They need to see how Jesus became poor, so they could inherit everything worth having (a relationship with God, life, freedom, forgiveness…).They need to see that, in Christ, they are rich beyond compare.

I want my students to live as joyful, generous givers, who bless God and others with their money. I want them to be known as the type of believers who give out of the richness they feel because of Christ’s love for them. I don’t want them satisfied with simply knowing they are good because they’ve put a few bucks in a plate. Instead I hope they will seek out ways to go beyond giving to live generously toward God and others.

What does generosity look like tangibly for a middle school student?

How about not complaining when they have to share something with a sibling?

How about not spending all their parents money, when they receive more than enough to go to the movies?

Generosity could be setting aside a portion of their allowance to bless someone with?