Teaching kids about money through a gospel lens is is something I am still working on figuring out. Our daughters 7 and 5 are still learning how to count money let alone spend it. However, I want them to understand early how money plays a role in our life. I want them to see Christ as sufficient and to not think money will fulfill their life. It shouldn’t be that hard right?
But, as I researched some articles to write this I discovered something. Most of the articles I found from big time Christian resources were no different the advice you would read from secular sources: Teach them to save early, teach them how interest works against you, make them earn their money so they understand the value of it and show them how to spend it properly. The only thing that set them apart from secular resources was talk of the tithe.
In their book Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson say, and I am paraphrasing because for the life of me I can’t find the quote, “If your parenting isn’t any different than a Jew, Muslim or a moral humanist you are not parenting as a Christian.” We can have all the steps and rules we want when it comes to our money and we will only create little pharisees. Our parenting, in every way, should always call us back to the cross and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Honestly, I started to write this article as a to-do list just like the ones I read.. That is why I was so irritated by what I found when doing my research. There are already tons of those articles out there here are a couple:
But, like so many of our sermons these articles assume the gospel instead of preaching it. The gospel calls us to give as we have been freely given. I believe the gospel calls us not to be selfish with out money. The Gospel calls us to give what we have cheerfully and sacrificially. The Gospel calls us to make Jesus the center of our life and live like he is completely sufficient. The question is how to do instill those principles in our children when we are living like it isn’t true. We work hard to get more to keep up with our neighbors and perhaps to give more but only to “sanctify the rest” so we can feel good about spending it however WE want.
Even by following a list of to-do’s, like the ones above, we need to be careful that we are not teaching our children to rely solely on their own wisdom to provide for all their needs, lest when financial trouble befall them they blame God because they feel like they followed all “His rules” and it didn’t work. Then God becomes a liar in their eyes because they equate good financial advice with the gospel.
Those of us who sinfully find our security in money love to look at the book of Acts and brush off the “socialist” lifestyle they lived as being simply a description of how they lived and not instructional as to how Christians are to live. However, giving statistics of Christians bear out that we have a lot to learn from those in the early church.
Maybe I will write a list of ideas on the practical side later because I do believe there is a need for that , right now I feel like the church needs to turn its eyes back on the cross when it comes to money. I know I do.
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