We commonly speak of something being a problem when we are faced with, or are in a situation which is difficult to clear up, or for which it is difficult to find a proper solution.
In the case before us it is the “money problem.”
Now money is in that class which we call “things” or tangibles. We can see it, feel it, and handle it. Money, taken by itself is worthless and of no value. It is a medium of exchange and only in exchanging it, or the use of it, for that which it will buy has it any value. Only a miser foolishly loves money for its own sake.
The only scriptural way in which we can approach the “money problem”, or any problem pertaining to earthly and material possessions, is from the viewpoint of Christian stewardship.
A steward is a servant entrusted by his master to care for, protect, and work with goods of his master. He is accountable to his master, and if he is a good steward he will not appropriate these goods to himself, nor will he use them to his own profit but only for his master’s.
God is our Lord and Master and we are His stewards. He has given all things into our keeping as His stewards; also money. To some of His people He gives an abundance of money and to some very little, but the “problem” remains the same. We often foolishly think that the rich Christian has a problem with all his money, but that the poor Christian has not. This is surely not so. The sin of setting our hearts on earthly things is each of ours by nature. Proverbs 30 has it, “Lord, give me neither poverty nor riches; lest I be full and say, who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor and steal and take the name of my God in vain”. Blessing is not in “things” and sin is not in “things” either.
We must therefore make proper use of and teach our young people and children to make proper use of, the money God in His providence places under our care.
Exactly what may or may not be the proper use of money in every instance is rather difficult to define. If, however, the basic principle of stewardship which we have outlined is used as a basis for our decisions in each practical case that presents itself, the solution will surely not be impossible.
In order to teach our children these principles and the practical working of them, it would seem quite essential that they also eventually be given practical experience in the use of money. The exact age and amount are a matter that depends on family financial circumstances and also on the individual child’s talents and dependability in these matters. It would certainly be unwise ever to entrust sums of considerable amount to our younger children.
Spending money foolishly and wantonly is sin. Children must so be taught, but parents have also to learn and by word and example teach their children this fact.
Our desire as Christian parents is also that our teachers and school supplement our home training by instructing our children to be good stewards over the money and material things God has entrusted to their care.
God grant that in that day He may say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
(Paper given at PTA meeting, Prot. Ref. Chr. School, Oct. 9, 1952) —-S.D.Y.