By Chuck Bentley, Baptist Press
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (BP)”It's important to teach your children about money and how to manage it. But even more important than understanding the basics of making and spending money, children need to learn what the Bible says about money and how it affects our spiritual lives. How we handle money is an outside indicator of our inside spiritual condition. It has a direct link to our relationship with the Lord.
Many times, the only thing children learn about money is that "it doesn't grow on trees." But how often do children hear phrases like "being a good steward" or "using money wisely"? Teaching them the biblical truths of finances will have a "return on investment" far greater than we can imagine.
It Changes Their Perspective
Teaching children about money will change their perspective. Once children gain an understanding of how money is gained and what happens once it is spent, they will better understand the financial decisions that you make each day. They will learn how a household is managed, that resources are sometimes limited, and that you must be a good steward of what you have.
They will also begin to see the difference between a "want" and a "need." Today's society places such a great value on material goods, and this generation is the most materialistic generation in history. They are exposed at very young ages to all types of items that they just know they need. Teaching them about being a good steward will help them discern between a true "need" and a simple "want" and how to find the balance between the two.
They will also learn to save up for items they want to purchase. This goes against the "instant gratification" that our society craves. Teaching them to save for things will bring a greater appreciation of what they have and a sense of satisfaction when they are able to purchase something.
It Helps Them with Future Decisions
Children who are brought up with biblical financial principles are able to make better financial decisions once they are adults. The things they have learned in childhood and young adulthood will translate to their lives once they are on their own, whether as singles or young married couples, and when they start a family.
They will have learned that all money and possessions come from God and that they are merely stewards of His resources. They will know the difference between their wants and their needs, and they will know the benefits of saving up for items instead of buying impulsively on credit.
These adults will be able to make wise purchase decisions regarding homes and automobiles, buying something of good quality that fits within their budget instead of becoming prey to the advertising world that tells them to get the biggest and the best.
They will know the dangers of debt, especially credit card debt. Instead of starting their adult lives saddled with college loans, credit card debt and other problems, they can know the freedom of a debt-free lifestyle.
It Strengthens Their Relationship with God
God knew that money would be the No. 1 competitor for our love and attention. When children learn the biblical truths about money, they will see God as their Provider, the source of all they need. Their faith will be strengthened as they learn to look to Him for what they need and as they see Him answer prayers and provide for them.
Being a good steward of God's possessions brings us into an intimate walk with Christ. As children mature in their Christian walk, they will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading to help others. The Bible says that "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7), and children who are taught God's financial principles learn that it truly is "more blessed to give than to receive" (Act 20:35).
Learning to be generous as children will create generous adults who see God's blessings on their lives as opportunities to bless others. God's work will be funded and many will come to know Christ through the generosity of His people.
A child's view of money will have a great impact on his or her life. Choosing to make wise financial decisions is as important as choosing whom to marry and what career path to take. When it comes to what to teach your children, teaching them God's financial principles will have lasting value.
(c) 2009 Baptist Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries and executive producer of the new film learning experience, "God Provides," scheduled for release in September 2009. Co-founded by Howard Dayton and the late Larry Burkett, Crown Financial Ministries (Crown.org) is an interdenominational ministry with 200 staff and over 10,000 volunteers dedicated to equipping people globally with biblically based financial stewardship tools and resource