Have you ever heard the expression, “pushing the envelope?” People use it when they refer to others who go beyond what is normally done in a given situation. They push the limits.
For example, if your parents tell you to go to bed at 9:00 p.m., but you continue to stay up past 9:00 and watch a video or text your friends (if you have a phone), your parents might say to you, “OK, now you’re pushing the envelope!” That’s not a good thing to do—especially with your parents.
However, a good way to push the envelope and go beyond what is normally done in a situation has to do with what I told you about last time I wrote: stewardship. (Check out the August issue of KidsView.)
Remember, we learned that stewardship involves time, talent (our abilities), treasure (our money), and temple (our bodies). This time we’re going to talk about money.
God asks us to be obedient and wise in how we handle money. Obedient in that we return our tithe, which is 10 percent of what we earn. Then He asks us to be wise in how we handle the other 90 percent of what we earn.
What does this have to do with pushing envelopes?
Sadly, many people don’t do what God asks them to do. They don’t return a tithe to their church so that others can learn about Jesus, and they don’t use the rest of their money wisely. But God asks us to “go beyond what is normally done” and to “push the limits” when it comes to giving to Him and to others. When we give to help people know Jesus, and give to others in need, God will make sure we have what we need.
The Christmas and New Year’s season provides wonderful opportunities to give extra to God and to others. But to be able to do all this, we need to use our money wisely. How can we do that? I’d like to show you a way that includes real envelopes!
Go to the store with your parents and get some colored envelopes.
Label them with the following words: tithe, offering, savings, and spending.
Now begin to place money into your envelopes. For this example, let’s pretend that you just earned $10.
You would place 10 percent of it in theTithe envelope. In this case, that’s $1. Take this money to church and place it in the offering plate.
Then, determine how much money you want to give as an offering, and place that amount in the Offering envelope. You can give this either in Sabbath School for a special project or place it in the offering plate at church along with your tithe. God doesn’t tell us exactly how much to give, but some church leaders suggest five percent. So, that would be 50 cents.
Next, place money into the Savings envelope. This is very important, because this helps you to save up for big things you might want in the future that cost more than what you make regularly (like a bicycle or a pair of pants with holes in them that you think are really cool, but that your parents don’t think you need!). Or, if you want to buy a special gift for someone but it costs more money than what you have, you can start early to save. If it’s for Christmas, you can begin putting money into your savings envelope in January! Again, this amount is up to you—something is better than nothing—but financial experts (people who study money a lot) suggest we put 20 percent into savings, which for you would be $2.
Finally, we come to your Spending envelope. If you subtract $3.50 from your original $10 that you earned, that means you have $6.50 to spend on whatever you want! And God will bless that amount more than if you had kept the entire $10 for yourself.
Christmas is a time of giving. But it’s difficult to give if we haven’t used our money wisely. If you don’t have an envelope system to help you manage your money, I encourage you to begin one. Make that your New Year’s resolution! Start the new year off making a promise to God, and to yourself, that you will be obedient and wise in managing your money. Then you can feel the joy of giving to God and others, and still have enough left over for that pair of jeans!
—Bonita Joyner Shields is associate director of Stewardship Ministries for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
*Would you like a tithes and offerings calculator to help you determine how much to give? If so, visit www.stewardshipjack.com, click on "contact us," and give us your information so we can send it out to you. (Get your parent's permission first.)
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