Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: stewardship

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In our modern world, it’s all too easy to fall into debt and then further into debt.

We’re bombarded daily by advertising that makes us want more of whatever it is they’re selling. The world tells us to “go for the gusto” regardless of affordability, because, well, we’re entitled to it.

The lure of debt is an ages-old problem.  William Shakespeare and Benjamin Franklin had some acute observations about it:

“Neither a borrower, nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend. And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry,” says the king’s loquacious but perceptive chief counselor, Polonius, in “Hamlet.”

Benjamin Franklin reminds those tempted to go into debt that, “Creditors have better memories than debtors.”

The Bible is full of warnings about living beyond one’s means. Proverbs 22:7 informs us that “the borrower is slave to the lender.”

In Romans 13:8, Paul admonishes, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

Living Beyond Our Means

If we do find it necessary to borrow, we need a plan to pay it back sooner than the period of the loan.  Otherwise, we wind up paying far more than the original price.  The most striking example of this is the National Debt of the United States.

The USDebtclock.org, which tracks our rising debt at dizzying speed, was introduced on Feb. 20, 1989 by New York real estate magnate Seymour Durst.  The clock began by reporting a national debt of “only” $2.7 trillion.

By 1991, it was ticking up at $13,000 per second. In fact, it “began accumulating so fast that the last seven digits became totally illegible,” Time magazine reported.

The clock actually broke down in 1998 because its computers couldn’t handle the total of $5.5 trillion.  In 2008, a digit was added because the debt had grown to $10 trillion.  Over the next eight years, the nation’s debt grew to more than $20 trillion and today it is past $21.6 trillion.

Why is this important?  Because the government is living beyond its means, and we’re all paying interest on the debt, which compounds, creating more debt.  The debt for each individual taxpayer as of October 2018 now exceeds $216,000 and the total debt per family is upwards of $850,000.  Who will pay for all of this? Our children and grandchildren.

The Bible tells us that piling up debt on the next generations is a dereliction of duty.  In 2 Corinthians 12:14, the apostle Paul states: “For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.”  This doesn’t mean that children cannot assist their elders, especially as people live longer than ever.  It means that parents should provide for their children and not saddle them with debt.

The Lure of the Card

Personal credit card debt is out of control for many people.

The average American has a credit card balance of $6,375, up nearly 3 percent from last year, according an annual Experian study on the state of credit and debt in America,[1] as reported by CNBC.  Total credit card debt surpassed $1 trillion in 2017, according to the Federal Reserve.

“About one-third of America’s 44 million student loan debtors say they were late paying that bill at least once last year,” CNBC states. “And years of aggressive auto lending, particularly targeting subprime buyers, have led to a dramatic increase in delinquencies and repossessions.”

God’s Economy v. the World’s

Problems with debt begin in the human heart, Scripture informs us.

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed,” Jesus told a crowd. “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15 NIV)

Author Randy Alcorn notes that wanting more material goods can mire us in a lifestyle that contrasts with a forward-looking, eternal outlook in which trusting God and giving back to Him is more important.  In God’s economy, giving is the coin of the realm, not getting.

Debt keeps us from giving our best to our Creator.

“How can we be fully free to serve God when we’re indebted to human creditors?” Timothy Plan founder Art Ally asks in his course “Stewardship: God’s Plan for Financial Success.”

Instead of striving for ever more worldly acquisitions, we benefit much more from following the advice of Jesus, who said, “But seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)

It comes down to trusting God to provide rather than chasing the empty promises of the world.

Parents and grandparents need to take this to heart and teach children about the use and misuse of money – especially the temptations and dangers of indebtedness.

[1] Jessica Dickler, “Credit card debt hits a record high. It’s time to make a payoff plan,” CNBC, January 23, 2018, at: “https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/23/credit-card-debt-hits-record-high.html.

 

Robert Knight

 

Robert Knight is an author and Communications Advisor for Timothy Partners.  Some of this material was drawn from a curriculum from the Timothy Plan for family economics called “Stewardship:  God’s Plan for Financial Success.”

Written by Timothy Plan founder Art Ally, the 112-page workbook, which, along with brief video segments of a couple discussing their income and giving, offers a Gods-eye view of money, investing, giving and cultural impact.  Learn more at timothyplan.com.

 

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The Power of Giving

Give Until It Hurts

“Give until it hurts” might describe most of us if we think of giving as an obligation instead of a privilege.

The secret to effective giving is understanding ownership.  If we think that everything we have is ours, and that anything we give is evidence of our magnificent generosity, then we tend to be stingy as we pat ourselves on the back.  That’s human nature.

On the other hand, giving can be joyful when we recognize that God owns everything and that we are stewards of his bounty.

“Indeed, heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it,” states Deuteronomy 10:14.

Likewise, Psalm 89:11 proclaims: “The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.”

The Bible contains many other verses along these lines, including the famous phrasing in Psalm 50:10 about the Lord owning “the cattle on a thousand hills.”

The Meaning of Stewardship

So where does this leave us? In a very good place. We are highly privileged stewards of God’s mighty creation and everything that comes from it, including the products of our own time and labor.

As stewards, we work best with an attitude of gratitude.  Knowing that we cannot accomplish anything without God’s help tempers our tendency to cry, “It’s mine!” which begins as soon as we can speak our first words.

One of the most important lessons to convey to children is the power of generosity.  Forced sharing is not enough; they need to feel the joy that comes from giving to others.  The same goes for giving back to God.  None of this comes easily, given our tendency to cling to “what’s ours.”  Praise for acts of generosity can go a long way to reinforce the notion that it really is better to give than to receive.

Some Revealing Statistics

According to nonprofitsource.com, Christians give 2.5% of income, which is less than during the Great Depression, when giving was 3.3%.[1]

Here are some other interesting stats:

  • Only 3 to 5% of Americans who give to their local church do so through regular tithing.
  • When surveyed, 17% of Americans state that they regularly tithe.
  • For families making $75k+, 1% of them gave at least 10% in tithing.
  • The average giving by adults who attend U.S. Protestant churches is about $17 a week.
  • 37% of regular church attendees and Evangelicals don’t give money to church.[2]

One study showed that American households with incomes under $10,000 gave 2.3% of their income to religious organizations, whereas those earning more than $70,000 gave religious organizations 1.2%.[3]

The more we earn, it seems, the more we take credit.  But God wants us to give, and give generously.

Exodus 23:15 states: “No one is to appear before me empty handed.”

Although the Bible is clear about the value of tithing, that is, giving 10 percent of one’s income, it’s just the beginning.

“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” (Leviticus 27:30)

As Biblically Responsible Investing pioneer Art Ally writes, “Tithing begins as a duty, but can become a delight, leading to joyful voluntary giving.”[4]

In Proverbs 3:9, we’re told to “honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first-fruits of all your crops.”

Giving beyond that is encouraged: “All…who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings” above and beyond the first fruits.

God Gives Back, but Beware the ‘Prosperity Gospel’

Often, we hear about people who thought they could not afford to tithe, given their financial situation, and how, after beginning to tithe, their financial picture brightened.

Some people find that the more they give, the more they get back.  R.G. LeTourneau, who made a fortune by inventing earth-moving machines, eventually was giving 90 percent of his income.  As he put it, “I shovel out the money, and God shovels it back. But God has a bigger shovel.”[5]

God honors our sacrifices, and not always in the ways we expect.  It’s a mistake to think that if we give a certain amount, we will get back a certain amount, with heavenly interest.  Even though that often happens, we must avoid the cold, transactional formula best known as the “prosperity gospel,” which boils down to giving more so we can be richer ourselves.

There is nothing particularly Godly about being rich or poor. When Jesus blesses whose who are “poor in spirit,” He means that those people know they depend wholly on God and are not fooled by the materialism sold to us by this world.  They don’t think better of themselves than they should.

There is one major advantage, however, to having more money beyond the amount necessary to meet our needs; we can give more to help the poor, advance the Kingdom and make this a better world.

[1] Nonprofitsource.com, at: https://nonprofitssource.com/online-giving-statistics/
[2] Ibid.
[3] Cited in “Christianity Today,” December 5, 2008, and in Art Ally, “Stewardship: God’s Plan for Financial Success,” (Maitland, Florida: Timothy Partners, Inc., 2017), p. 83.
[4] Ibid, p. 78.
[5] Ibid, p. 85.

Robert Knight

 

Robert Knight is an author and Communications Advisor for Timothy Partners.  Some of this material was drawn from a curriculum from the Timothy Plan for family economics called “Stewardship:  God’s Plan for Financial Success.”

Written by Timothy Plan founder Art Ally, the 112-page workbook, which, along with brief video segments of a couple discussing their income and giving, offers a Gods-eye view of money, investing, giving and cultural impact.  Learn more at timothyplan.com.

 

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For more great articles about teaching your children how to manage their money and more homeschooling information be sure to check out the Teach Them Diligently Blog.

 

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A lot of people are surprised to learn that Jesus devoted 15 percent of his recorded words to the subject of money, and that the Bible has more than 2,300 verses addressing it.

Money is of great importance because it fuels nearly all of our activities in some way and can be used for good or ill.   It is utterly necessary just for daily living, and its handling is a mark of character, again, for good or ill.

A common misnomer is that the Bible – and therefore God – regards money as evil.  But this is a misreading of 1 Timothy 6:10, in which the Apostle Paul warns: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Some Money Facts

In the United States, which is arguably the richest country in the world, the Treasury Department continually provides new bills and coins at a staggering rate.

The first coins minted in America were pennies created in 1792.  “Paper” money debuted in 1862 during the Civil War, when precious metals became scarce.  Then, as now, the bills were mostly made of cotton and linen, not paper, which is sturdier.

Today, the U.S. Department of Engraving and Printing, which has plants in Washington, D.C. and Fort Worth, Texas, uses between 10 and 18 tons of ink per day to print nearly 25 million notes worth $560 million, according to the Treasury website.  Some 95 percent of these merely replace old bills taken out of circulation – much of it overseas, where the American dollar is a widely used currency.

In the 1860s, “In God We Trust” was added for the first time to coinage, debuting on a two-cent piece.  Later, it was added to currency, such as $1, $2, $5, $10, $20 and $100 bills.

Starting Good Habits Young

For Christians, money presents an opportunity to put our faith into action.  That begins with the radical notion that all of our money, not just 10 percent (a tithe) or whatever we are donating to the church, belongs to God.   This is the principle of stewardship.

When teaching children about money, it’s very important to begin with the foundational truth that it all belongs to God, and that while God is magnanimous toward us in inestimable ways, we have to operate as stewards of His riches.   Only when we do that can we properly handle money, please God and bless our families and others.

While many people in our culture of rugged individuality think of themselves as being in charge, the stewardship model begins in the Book of Genesis, when God assigned Adam and Eve the job of naming the animals and caring for the paradise around them.  They lived up to the task of stewardship until falling for the temptation to go beyond their God-given roles into a realm of power reserved only for God. We’ve all been working “by the sweat of our brow” ever since.

Throughout the Bible, we are advised to be good stewards of our Creator’s wealth, which includes our own lives and how we touch the lives of others.

“When it comes to a man’s (or woman’s) real nature, money is of first importance,” said former U.S. Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson.  “Money is an exact index to a man’s true character.  All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money.”

Whose Money?

If we view all money we acquire only as our own, we are tempted to believe that we don’t need God or Biblical guidance.  It’s the ultimate power trip – we call the shots, no one else.  But if we view ourselves as stewards of God’s provision for us, we learn the beauty and joy of giving back and can develop a healthy view of our finances.  Concentrating on acquiring money for its own sake can lead to soul-destroying greed and contempt for those less well off than ourselves.

As Jesus Himself warned, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)

In our free-market-based economy, we have many blessings unavailable to people who live under oppressive regimes that punish individual initiative.  But materialism, or the love of money, is a constant temptation in our culture, especially since we are pelted daily with advertising designed to make us discontented with what we have and aching to buy whatever they are selling so we can feel better.

Wealth can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how we view it and handle it.  For one thing, materialism can dull our appreciation for many of the best things in life that are free – including the gift of salvation.  As the Roman, North Africa-based Christian author Tertullian put it in 200 A.D., “Nothing that is God’s is obtainable by money.”

Love of money can lead to crime, as evidenced by the fact that motives linked to money or sex account for 80 percent of crimes in the United States, but money accounts for a ratio of 80 to 1 crimes over those incited by sex.   No wonder Jesus issued so many warnings about the power of money.

Employee theft is estimated to be $50 billion annually, which forces everybody to pay higher prices. (“Personal Property Crimes,” U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006) Insurance fraud is similarly in the billions, which costs everybody because of higher rates.  Materialism is such a powerful motivator that few can resist it without God’s help.

The good news is that we don’t have to go it alone and that there are resources available to guide us.

God has much to say about money if we take the time to listen.

Written By Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author and Communications Advisor for Timothy Partners.  Some of this material was drawn from a curriculum from the Timothy Plan for family economics called “Stewardship:  God’s Plan for Financial Success.”

Written by Timothy Plan founder Art Ally, the 112-page workbook, which, along with brief video segments of a couple discussing their income and giving, offers a Gods-eye view of money, investing, giving and cultural impact.  Learn more at timothyplan.com.

Looking for more great articles about teaching your children how to manage and steward their money? Check out Pizza Prepares Kids To Make Sense Of Money, To Build Kid’s Money Handling Habits, Start Young, and Common Sense Savings Skills That Aren’t So Common in the Teach Them Diligently Blog.

 

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Originally aired as a Facebook Live, this video will give you some great insights and ideas for how to teach your children to succeed financially. Linda Carlson and Vere Reynolds from Evangelical Christian Credit Union are part of the Homeschool Financial Counselor Team here at Teach Them Diligently, and they shared some incredibly helpful ideas for preparing your children to be financially prepared as they get older.

In this conversation, Linda and Vere cover the following topics:

How to Help them Build a budget

How to Help them Prioritize spending

How to Help them Gather their tools (Understand the Basics of Opening and Managing a Bank Account)

How to Help them Plan Ahead

How To Help Them Get familiar with Credit

 CLICK HERE TO WATCH THIS VIDEO ON TEACH THEM DILIGENTLY 365.

We are so excited about this new Homeschool Financial Counselor program, for we really believe it will give us all some tools to help us in an area that is not often discussed and about which many of us feel a little bit ill-equipped.  Sign up for the FREE Homeschool Financial Counselor Program to make sure you don’t miss any of this helpful content about teaching your children how to handle their finances. Check out some of the other articles that have been published as part of the homeschool financial counselor program.

Learn more about the ECCU Start Young Program and how that tool can be invaluable to your family as you teach your children solid financial principles.

Linda Carlson also did an interview with Leslie about Teaching Your Children about Money. Check that out here.

Make sure you plan to join us for TTD2019 next Spring as the homeschool financial counselor team gives even more helps and workshops to help you as you teach your children about finances. Register today and make your plans to join us there!

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It’s kind of ironic. I was really intentional about teaching our six sons how to handle money throughout their homeschool education. Then after son number six graduated, I got a job at a credit union. And wouldn’t you know, I get to work on a program that helps parents teach their kids about money.

Like so many of the important lessons we teach our kids, this one can’t be learned in a day. It takes incremental education. We introduce the key concepts of wise money management—earn, give, save, spend— when our kids are young, then reinforce them in practical ways as they get older. Here are three examples of how you can teach these concepts to your kids.

EARLY START: AGES 0-7

Earn:  For younger kids, you may want to introduce the big ideas about money and having a good work ethic.

I think of the lessons of these early years as foundation stones. They give our kids reference points to look back on as they grow and learn, and they give us opportunities to creatively craft learning experiences.

  • To learn about hard work, your kids can help you with small parts of bigger projects, like adding premeasured ingredients to baked goods.
  • They can also have little jobs like filling the dog’s water bowl.
  • To make the connection between work and money, I got my 3-year old son collecting glass bottles for recycling.

JUMP START: AGES 8-12

Give: This is an ideal time for your kids to learn how people live in less developed parts of the world.

You’re building on the foundation stone of generosity that you laid when the kids were younger. So it’s time to transition from a simple way of setting aside money for giving, like a separate jar, to opening a savings account. To make the lesson real-world, these funds might be invested in the lives of other children through an organization like Children’s Hunger Fund. Besides giving money, your kids can also volunteer in your community.

FLYING START: AGES 13-17

Save: This is when you build on the foundation stone of self-control that you set when the kids were younger. The long-term takeaway is to learn the value of patiently working toward something that’s more valuable than impulse purchases. This is a great time to introduce your kids to electronic banking and teach them how to manage online accounts.

  • Now, instead of watching money accumulate in a jar, they can see it grow online, including the bonus of interest income.
  • They can designate part of their savings for short-term needs like sports equipment, functions or trips.
  • They can set longer-term goals for things like electronic equipment, a car or Christmas gifts.

Although I was intentional about teaching our boys how to handle money, there are things I wish I had known or done. I definitely would have introduced them to banking basics sooner. And if there had been resources to start them young like ECCStart YoungU offers, I would have tapped into them quickly and often.

If you’re a parent looking for ideas on how to instill Godly money management behavior in your children, then check out Evangelical Christian Credit Union’s Start Young program. It’s amazing to see what happens when you start young.

Looking for more great articles about teaching your children how to manage and steward their money? Check out Pizza Prepares Kids To Make Sense Of Money, To Build Kid’s Money Handling Habits, Start Young, and Common Sense Savings Skills That Aren’t So Common on the Teach Them Diligently Blog.

About the Author:

 

In 28 years of marriage, Rachel Soto and her husband David have welcomed six sons into their family. Those boys gave her 15 years of homeschool experience; she taught them through high school. With the boys off to college or on their own now, she returned to work at Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU). When she’s not working, she enjoys cooking, reading, coffee dates with friends and even an occasional nap.

 

 

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About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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