RITE OF PASSAGE: High Gas Prices
I am as upset about the price of a gallon of gas as . . . you. Every morning, I turn on the news and the announcer says, “Today, another record price for gas.” If gas keeps going up, everything else goes up, too. Soon, it will be cheaper to mail my car wherever I want to go than to drive it there.
I saw a cartoon recently that showed an engaged couple announcing the places they registered for wedding gifts. The stores they listed were . . . Shell, Mobil and Texaco.
In the past, our nation has been blessed with lower gasoline prices than the rest of the world. In some countries, I have paid $4 a gallon for years. Not only are prices are going up here, but the dollar also is falling like a rock overseas. In a few days, I will send missionaries out all around the world. The price we paid for hotel rooms last year has doubled due to the weak dollar.
Raising a family today is more and more expensive. Do you know that during the period portrayed in the TV show “The Waltons,” each child was worth $5,000 of income? Children planted, plowed, reaped the harvest and hunted. They were not liabilities, but assets. I don’t know many 12-year-old boys today who are producing $5,000 of income for their families. If you find one, let me know. I am looking to adopt a boy like that to help me pay for . . . gas.
In situations like this, I figure you have two choices. The world says sit back and complain. But God says this is a wonderful opportunity to teach your children biblical truth, especially in the area of finances. In an affluent society, stewardship is difficult to teach. Money grows on trees, and as soon as you pick from one, another grows in its place. One day, one of my sons said he wanted something, and I told him we didn’t have the money. He responded, “Dad, no problem. Let’s go to that machine that prints it!” He was referring to the ATM, thinking it made money . . . little did he know.
This is a great time to teach your children about stewardship. The Bible talks a lot about money; Jesus talks a lot about money/worldly possessions; and even my pastor talks a lot about money. That means money must be . . . important. God is the One who created commerce, and He tells us money is a spiritual barometer: “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11)
Here are 10 financial principles to teach your children. Each one shows the contrast between the world’s view and God’s view.
1. The world says, “My resources have nothing to do with my spiritual life.” God says, “Your finances reveal the condition of your spiritual life” (Luke 12:34, 16:11; Revelation 3:17-18).
2. The world says, “All I have is mine.” God says, “All you have is Mine” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18; Psalms 24:1, 62:10; Colossians 1:17).
3. The world says, “You need more money.” God says, “Manage the money you have” (Psalms 37:16, Ecclesiastes 5:11, Luke 16:10).
4. The world says, “Spend your money on whatever gives you pleasure.” God says, “Demonstrate a life of self-control” (Proverbs 2:11-12; 23:19; Luke 15:13-14).
5. The world says. “Love gold!” God says, “Love God” (Ecclesiastes 5:10, Luke 16:13, 1 Timothy 6:10).
6. The world says, “Shop until you drop.” God says, “Save for the future” (Proverbs 21:20, 27:23-24; Ecclesiastes 5:11).
7. The world says, “Fear loss and hard times.” God says, “Do not fear, but have faith in Me to provide in difficult situations” (Psalms 33:18-19, Proverbs 3:25-26 Romans 8:35).
8. The world says, “Money will make you feel secure.” God says, “I am your contentment” (Psalms 37:3-9, 1 Timothy 6:6, Hebrews 13:5-6).
9. The world says, “The one with the most toys when he dies . . . wins.” God says, “The one who builds the Kingdom in this world . . . wins” (Exodus 20:17, Job 27:16-17, Proverbs 13:22, Ecclesiastes 2:26).
10. The world says, “Argue and fight over money.” God says, “Agree in prayer” (Psalms 34:17, Proverbs 15:16-17).
Father, give parents Your wisdom. Help them use this season of uncertainty to teach their children about the certain One and the principles that come from . . . You. Amen.