My daughters get so excited when their birthdays come around. I love seeing their faces light up. One of them, my youngest, does the "countdown" thing. You know what I mean. She starts telling people her birthday is coming about two months away from the date. And, like so many young people in America, they are spoiled by their wonderful grandparents with money and gift cards. They get so excited thinking and talking about all the new things they're going to buy: jewelry, hair accessories, books, candy and gum, assorted trinkets and other things that most adults usually regard as crap.
No big deal perhaps, but I get concerned. On the one hand, they are kids. Why stand in their way of spending every possible nickel they can scrounge together on Laffy Taffy and Nerds? Who cares if they have a growing collection of lip glosses and bottle caps beyond the number of lip glosses and bottle caps anyone should own? Does it really matter? I think it matters for everything, and I'm out to make sure they learn Biblical principles of stewardship and prosperity now.
How we teach our children to handle money, matters because so many of our attitudes and aptitudes are developed early in life. It matters because most of us want our children to do better than we have done and excel where we feel like we've failed. It matters because we ourselves are merely stewards over the great gifts' God has given us in them. We are charged with delivering back to God mature, Godly people who will glorify Him by way of their choices and lives. How we teach our young people to handle money matters. That’s why I'm not excited to hear them plan on buying every Snickers bar in the store!
Here are three eternal Biblical principles I am convinced we are required teach our young people about money as early as they're able to understand (and even before in some cases):
1. Everything is the Lords. Honor God with your choices and use your resources to make a difference.
"FOR THE EARTH IS THE LORD'S, AND ALL IT CONTAINS." ~1 Corinthians 10:26 (NASB)
For a Believer, the key to relating to material goods is understanding that everything belongs to God. Everything. Then, the questions of whether to tithe, give, support ministries or otherwise show generosity in our communities become a lot easier to answer. When the Lord blesses us, we are not to grasp onto every penny for dear life with closed fists. When the Lord places resources at our disposal, it is an opportunity to show the world His heart. I want my daughters to know this.
2. Only a fool spends everything that comes into their hands on their pleasures.
"He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich." ~Proverbs 21:17 (NASB)
It is okay to use resources to enjoy life, but hedonism leads only to poverty. I prefer to tell them to spend, but spend wisely. Enjoy, but never go overboard. Solomon wrote about there being such a thing as "too much honey" and how it makes everyone groan. I want them to know the best of life, but also be prepared for the future by making sure she's setting aside for it. W. Clement Stone once said "If you cannot save money, then the seeds of greatness are not in you. “How many of us have looked back and groaned at all the money that went through our hands for which we have nothing to show? Too many. I want my daughters to know this, too, and make good decisions.
3. You reap what you sow, so sow well, sow bountifully and sow joyfully and without worry.
"Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed."~2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NASB)
If I haven't learned anything else, it is this. However, I have learned to see it as the ultimate positive – the ultimate promise of God's lasting goodness! We often tell people "you'll reap what you sow" as a warning. We want them to know that the entire Cosmos will work out their punishments for every bad choice they've ever made. But here's the other side of it. God makes the entire Cosmos work together a blessing for every good seed you sow! I want my daughters to know this and live it every day.
I'm doing everything I can to help my daughters understand the importance of tithing, sowing, saving and spending wisely with every dollar that comes into their lives. I am committed to helping them experience God's best here on Earth and when we want God's best, how we handle money matters…a lot. By teaching them God's principles, we are setting a positive course for their lives that will ripple through eternity and even help them earn heavenly rewards.
That is why I frown when my girls want a month's supply of bubble gum.
By the way, here's the link to something I bought for my daughters when they were very young ---> The Money Savvy Pig. This is the picture I have at the top of this blog. I think they're starting to "get" it!
Originally published in Christian Quarterly Magazine here: ORIGINAL POSTING