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My daughter is now eleven years old. When we, in the church, lay by in store on Sunday she has always put in her small amount. I have encouraged this to teach her to give. However, some oppose this with the view that giving is for adults, for the baptized. Of course we don't have children partake of the Lord's supper to teach them of the Lord's supper. Maybe I am mistaken in this? Should my daughter refrain from giving?


Taking this logic to its natural conclusion, then it would also be wrong for a child to pray, sing, or in any way participate in the worship since the worship is for Christians. We could also then extend it to say that adults who are not Christians should also be barred from praying, singing, giving, or participating in any way during the worship of the church. I'm not talking about leading a prayer or a song, I'm referring to participating with those who are involved in those activities.

Paul stated, "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). A part of that training is to instill habits of good behavior with a child that will last them through their lifetime. "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). Some of those habits are to accept some of the minor burdens a follower of God accepts. After all, it takes time out of our lives to attend services and go to Bible studies, yet we teach our children the importance of this by insisting that they go with us.

As Jeremiah reminds us, "It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and keep silent, because God has laid it on him" (Lamentations 2:27-28). The illustration is that of the training of oxen. You don't put a yoke on a full-grown oxen and expect to use him to plow your field. By the time the ox is full-grown, he is used to not having anything across his shoulders and he will rebel at any burden placed there, no matter how minor it might be. But if a light yoke is placed on an ox from the time he is young, he grows up being used to the feel of the yoke and is content to take it on as an adult.

So when do we start teaching children to think about God's word? From the time they are very little, "and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (II Timothy 3:15). Thus John could write, "I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father" (I John 2:13).

When do we start teaching children to enjoy singing praises to God? When do we have them learn to bow their heads in prayer? Is it an absolute must that a child sing or pray? No, but it is a great time to establish a habit that will last them a lifetime.

Therefore, is there harm if a child decides to give a portion of his money to the church? Again, no. For many, the money comes from Dad's pocket anyway in the form of an allowance. Giving gives a parent a chance to teach the child the importance of thinking about and putting God first. A habit that will uphold them later when they start working and earning their own money.

The reason we don't invite children to partake of the Lord's Supper is because the importance is not in the physical partaking; it is in what those physical actions represent (I Corinthians 11:23-27). But a child is not able to make those connections and Paul warns, "Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord" (I Corinthians 11:28). Having a child partake of the Lord's Supper would establish a bad habit -- a habit of partaking without properly memorializing the Lord's death. Thus we have them wait until they understand the significance of Jesus' death to the point of becoming a Christian. Once in the covenant with Christ, they can partake of the covenant meal.


See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Child Rearing and Parenting
Questions and Answers regarding the Church