Deuteronomy 6:6-9 makes it clear that parents have a responsibility to verbally teach their children in the ways of the Lord. Just like many Christians try to shirk their responsibility to verbally witness by saying their life is their witness, many parents make the same mistake — about their faith, about their character, and about their financial priorities. Certainly, the former two are more significant, but even those who very purposely address the pivotal areas of faith and character can forget to train their teens when it comes to money. While they are silent on this topic, Scripture certainly is not.
Money Isn’t Everything
Perhaps this is the very reason many parents skirt the issue of finances: They don’t want to over-emphasize it and send the message that money is extremely important. How much money a person makes or accrues may not say nearly as much about a person’s character and faith as our society and many false teachers would have us believe, but it does say something. Generally speaking, laziness does result in poverty, while hard work pays off (Proverbs 10:4). Even more, though, how a person values and manages the finances entrusted to him speaks volumes about that person’s worldview and can either attract others to or detract from his said beliefs. Matthew 6:21 affirms the truth of the assumption people will make about us: How we spend our money demonstrates our priorities.
Money Is a Trust
When the principle of stewardship comes up in a sermon, many churchgoers assume that the main point is that they should give more in the weekly offering — which may or may not be true. To a point, this kind of application can come across as self-serving from the pastor of the church, so many pastors avoid the topic altogether. The concept of stewardship, though, is far broader than simply the issue of tithes and offerings; it encompasses how we handle, or manage all our finances, since all possessions and wealth are truly God’s, and He has merely entrusted them to us, for a time (see Matthew 20). We are to manage however much we are given. According to the “Parable of the Talents” (see Matthew 25), it’s not how much we have, but how wisely we manage what we are given that determines God’s view of us.
Money Is Part of Life
Indebtedness plagues many individuals, families, and organizations. Many Americans live in the shadowy reality of Proverbs 22:7 — “the borrower is servant to the lender.” Teens need to understand that making wise choices like living beneath their means, saving up for large purchases, and paying off necessary debt quickly may feel restraining but will actually provide greater freedom, later on. Otherwise, today’s foolish choices will limit tomorrow’s opportunities, and the results will reach beyond their own personal lives.
As you help your teenaged son or daughter grasp these principles, resources such as Dave Ramsey’s “Generation Change” Bible study may be helpful. Whatever method you choose, be sure you choose something and communicate it intentionally.