As we continue to work through a sermon series on money and stewardship at church, I have been considering where we get our skewed worldview on money from. Yes, I know there are all kinds of influences around us making us want more things due to advertising, and to increase our superannuation, and to upgrade our car.
But it occurred to me that Christian parents often, unwittingly, help their kids to learn materialistic ways of seeing the world. We pass on things we don’t realize are unhelpful.
On the one hand, we so often give some kind of reward which is money or possession related; if you do your chores you will get so much, for example. How do we normally celebrate birthdays? By giving a lot of presents to children who already have so many toys that they get bored of or do not play with. Gifts are the way we mark times of significance in their lives.
On the other hand, we can fail to excite them enough about spiritual matters, sometimes because we are not excited enough about them. If we choose not to come to church because there is a birthday party or some other offer, we are showing them that other things trump being with God’s people. If they never see us pray personally, or talk excitedly about what we have learnt from the Bible, they learn quickly that these traditions don’t mean all that much in practice to us. And if they do not matter to us, why should they matter to them?
Jesus calls us to seek his kingdom first, to serve him and not money. Do our kids draw that conclusion about us?
I haven’t included many ways we could encourage them to seek the kingdom first, as it will be different for every family. Example matters a great deal. Maybe you could restart family devotions if you have stopped them? Or you could get your kids involved in some family project supporting a missionary, or a child in need elsewhere in the world. Or you could simplify, with all in the family giving things away to show that you don’t need all you have.
Make sure you pass on to your kids what you think you are passing on.