#6 How we SPEND money shows what we treasure in our hearts. We should not stockpile treasures on earth where material things decay. Instead, we should invest in eternal treasures (Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:20-21). We are to spend money wisely and be content with what we have (Phil 4:11-12; Matt 6:25-34). The way that we spend our money reveals whether or not we treasure God. We trust, obey, and suffer for God now, because he gives us more lasting things in eternity (2 Cor 4:17-18).
- Lose the game of LIFE or Monopoly. Consider this story from Randy Alcorn:
One night when they were six and eight, my daughters asked me to play the game of “LIFE,” a popular board game I’d never played. One of my girls expressed disappointment when she landed on a space that made her a teacher rather than a doctor or lawyer—despite the fact that in real life she wanted to be a teacher! Why the disappointment? Because it meant she would receive a lower salary the rest of the game. And money, after all, is what LIFE (and for many people life) is all about.
LIFE presents the choice of whether to have children. Because there’s a minimum amount of money but no minimum amount of children required to win the game, my girls kept choosing money over children. When I chose children over money, it surprised them. Choosing children might mean losing the game, and who plays a game with the intention of losing?
The whole event turned out to be an excellent teaching opportunity. I shared with my daughters Scripture’s infinitely higher regard for children than money, and how “winning” and “success” are very different in God’s eyes than the world’s. Next time they played the game I noticed they made decisions that would make them “losers” by the games’ standards.
- Take your children to a junkyard and show them the “treasures” that are now junk. They cost hundreds but are now sold for pennies. They were once Christmas and birthday presents, but they are now worthless.
- If your child does not have a jar, box, or envelope with the word SPENDING written on it, ask your child to help you make one. Let your child decide how much of his or her weekly earnings will be put in the box for spending. If there is a special item (toy, food, clothing, etc.) that your child desires, consider creating a separate envelope for saving to buy with cash.
- Discuss the concept of praying and waiting for God to provide something. Together decide what item you need, write this on a sheet of paper and put it on the refrigerator or in some other prominent place. Read Matthew 6:25-34. As a family, pray daily for God to provide the item and always thank Him for all He has already given you.
Story from “Training Your Children to Manage Money” by Randy Alcorn in New Man Magazine (Nov/Dec, 1995).