There is an awkward moment in every parent’s life when your kids hit that pre-teen age and you take a deep breath and you realize, you know, you need to have “the talk.” I mean, the big talk. The talk that makes you uncomfortable, very committed men and women often come to me when they realize they need to have “the talk” with one of their kids and they say, “Do you have any resources or have you done this with your kids?” And kind of, “What did you say? And I’m kind of uncomfortable.”
And the conversation at home goes something like this, “You know, honey, why don’t you have ‘the talk’ with them? You’re really better at this.” And then answer is normally, “Well, don’t you think she needs to hear that from her mother?” Or conversely, “Well, don’t you think he really needs to hear that from his father?”
And sadly, despite all the information there is about “the talk” and how important “the talk” is, even from very strong Christian homes, most children never hear about the subject from their mom or their dad.
Most of them pick up their values from the media or TV or friends and they just kind of catch it. And unfortunately, when you don’t talk about this subject, and have ongoing discussion and education, after the “big talk” with your kids, it is probably the clearest predictor of heartache, of pain, and suffering in the future; of dissolving relationships, and in many, many cases walking away from the faith.
And so one of the questions I want to have for you as we start this is, “Have you had ‘the talk’ with your kids, regardless of their age?”
Now at this point in time, I’m imagining some of you are thinking to yourself, “Oh, wow, you know? They’ve already hit those teenage years and we’ve sort of hinted around ‘the talk.’” And you’re thinking that I’m really talking about the S-E-X talk.
And if you haven’t had that talk, let me encourage you, you need to have that talk. But that’s not the one that I’m talking about. The one that I’m talking about, this subject, if you don’t cover it clearly and well and with ongoing strategy and education, I mean, the implications are significantly more important for your kids than the sex talk.
What I’m talking about this morning is the money talk. I want to talk to you about giving a priceless gift to your children and it’s maybe a gift that you haven’t thought about.
Let me tell you why the money talk is so important. And now let me ask you, since your mind is in a different place, have you had the money talk with your kids?
Now, notice the implications if your kids don’t think and have biblical values around money. Number one, money issues cause fifty percent of all divorces. If your kids don’t learn about money and learn about it well and how to think about it and handle their money, they are set up in their marriage relationship, about half of them, on huge issues here.
The second reason you need to have the money talk is it will direct the course of their hearts. Money directs the course of people’s hearts. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will follow.” So wherever your kids consciously or unconsciously learn from you and others to put their money, that’s where their heart is going to land. And if it lands in places where God isn’t, then they won’t be following Christ.
The third reason to have the money talk is money is the number one competitor for your child’s soul. Have you ever thought about it like that? Your child or someone in your small group, their soul is up for grabs.
Luke chapter 12, Jesus, in response to someone who screamed out of the crowd, “Hey! Tell my brother to share the inheritance that he got with me!” And Jesus responded and said, “Who made Me judge over that?” But His application in Luke 15 was, “Watch out and be on your guard against all kinds of greed, because a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
And then just to make the point, He told this little story. He said, “There was a man that grew richer and richer and richer and he had no room for his riches. And he said to himself, ‘This is what I’ll do. I’ll build bigger and bigger barns, and I’ll take all my riches and I’ll put it in these barns. And then I’m going to relax and have an easy, comfortable, “retirement type” life. I’m going to eat, drink, and be merry.’”
And then Jesus says in the story, “You fool! For this very night, God will require your life of you.” And then He makes this application to this large crowd listening to Him. He goes, “And so it will be with everyone who is not rich toward God.”
And He makes this point that how you think about money. He says there’s going to be two competitors: There’s God and there’s money. Often we think of, there’s good and evil and we think God and Satan.
That’s not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches there are two gods: There’s God and there’s money. Now, Satan and demonic forces may cause you to believe that money can deliver some things. But those are the two gods that compete for your kids’ souls.
Have you had the money talk?
Final reason to have the money talk is this: Money problems are the root of greed, envy, debt, workaholism, pride, conflict, anger, guilt, and lack of contentment and peace.
The apostle Paul would write to his young son in the faith. He said, “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is,” not “the” root, but, “a root of all kinds of evil, and some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Here’s all I want you to get. Most of us don’t think clearly or think that giving our kids a wise preparation about finances and money is all that important. That lack of preparation is probably one of the greatest hindrances for your child’s success with God, success with people, success in work, personal peace, a great relationship in the future. And if you haven’t had the money talk, then one of the most priceless gifts, bigger and better than any gift you’ll give them this Christmas or any other Christmas, is to sit down with them and teach them to manage their money biblically.
Teach them to manage their money in a way that aligns their heart and their life and their priorities around what God says because the reason Jesus talks so much about money, it’s the tool where you teach values. It’s the tool where you teach priorities. And it’s measurable. It’s so clear you can know exactly where your kids are at and you teach them through money.
And so with that, open your notes, if you would, or from the sound that I heard, I will open my notes and catch up with you. And I want to do this, very simply, I want to give you a theology of stewardship, and then I want to get you along the road to some very practical ways to teach your kids about how to manage their money biblically.
A theology of stewardship, point number one, is that God owns everything. Psalm 50:12, the Lord says, “If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the earth is Mine, and everything in it.” This is the game changer for your kids.
Psalm 24 says exactly the same thing. God owns everything. So we’re stewards or managers. Your kids need to get from early ages into the pre-teens and teenage years, adult years, and even when their completely grown and when you’re trying to figure out what to leave them or what not to leave them, and whether they’re responsible.
It’s not yours, it’s not theirs, it’s His. And so your job is to be a good steward. Your job and their job is to teach them what they’re to do with God’s time entrusted to them, what they’re supposed to do with God’s talent entrusted to them, and what they’re to do with God’s money.
Second in the theology of stewardship is God has entrusted His things – time, talent, and treasure – to us to manage for Him. See, this will change your kids’ attitudes about stuff, about life, about the future.
It’s Christmas time, at Christmas time I love to read stories. I did it when my kids were small and I want you to lean back, you can follow along if you’d like. It’s in Matthew chapter 25. But I want you to hear a story because Jesus talks so much about this idea of stewardship, and there are so many core principles. This one story encapsulates most all of them.
So lean back and when I share this story, what I want you to understand is Jesus was very clearly teaching that God owns everything, He’s the Master in this story, that He’s going to go away for a period, which He did, He went to heaven, that He’s going to come back, and He’s going to ask people to give an account for what He loaned to them to manage for Him.
The story is in Matthew 25 and we pick it up in verse 14. Try and picture in your mind’s eye, you can even close your eyes if you want, what this would be like.
“Again, it will be said, there was a man going on a journey, he called his servants and entrusted his property to them.” Notice it’s his property. “To one of them he gave five talents, and to another he gave two talents, and one he gave one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey, and then man who had received the five talents went at once and gained five more.
“And the one who had two talents went at once, and gained two more. But the one who received just one talent went off, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
“After a long time the master of those servants returned and he settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
“His master replied, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come now and share the joy, the happiness, of your master.’ The man with two talents also came and said, ‘Master, you gave me two; notice, I have given you and created two more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come now and share your master’s joy and happiness!’
“Then the man who had received the one came and said, ‘Master, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered. So I was afraid, so I went and I hid your talent in the ground. See, here it is, it belongs to you.’
“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So if you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered, then you should have at least put the money on deposit with a banker, so I would have received interest when I returned. Take the talent from him and give it to the one that has ten. For everyone who has will be given more. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And throw that worthless servant outside, into darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Jesus’ picture is completely a metaphor for our lives and for us with our children. For reasons I don’t understand and you don’t understand, but according to your ability and according to your children’s ability, God deposited in their DNA certain talents, certain abilities, certain personalities, certain ways their mind works.
God placed them in a very specific family in a very specific time in history, for many of us right here in the Silicon Valley. And then He has so many days that He’s going to give them on the earth and I don’t know what they are and you don’t know what they are.
And then He’s going to give them money and material possessions. And what God is saying is that He will hold your kids accountable for what they do with their time, what they do with their talent, and what they do with their treasure. Because He is an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-sovereign God of the universe, He has a purpose for their life. And He gave them the very talents, the very amount of time, and the right amount of money for them to accomplish His purpose.
Now, notice out of that passage there’s a number of principles. The third aspect of a theology of stewardship is that God expects a positive return on His investments. Don’t you get that? He expects a positive return.
Fourth, He will hold you and He will hold your children accountable. And it’s not just from this passage, I put II Corinthians 5:6 through 10 where the apostle Paul says, “You need to understand, every single believer in Jesus will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and give an account.
We will be judged as believers, not for our sin, Jesus took care of that, but we will be judged by God for what we did with what we have. And some will receive great reward and others will receive loss. And that’s real stuff.
Fifth, God wants to share His joy with your kids. This is not prohibitive. This isn’t, like, He’s trying to take money away or time away or talent away. He knows your children! He has wired your children. He has a plan. And when they’re good stewards and when they invest their time and their talent and their treasure according to His purposes, they will explode with joy!
This is why it’s so important for us parents and those people that are helping people in small groups, you want to help them discover and align their talent and their time and their treasure around God’s purposes. Because unconsciously this other god is pulling.
I wonder how many kids had a desire to do something with their life and somewhere along the line they either heard from a friend or from a teacher or maybe from a counselor or maybe from us as parents, “Well, you could do that, but you’ll never make any money there. I mean, you can’t get a degree in that because you’ll never get a good job that pays a lot of money and you need a lot of money because you need a lot of money to be upwardly mobile because if you’re not upwardly mobile I look like a failure as a parent.
“And if you’re not upwardly mobile, you won’t have money to get a really great education and you need a really great education so you can stay upwardly mobile so our whole lineage and generation can be upwardly mobile so that you can make more money and work more hours and look at your cell phones more often and get bound up completely in technology so you can marry someone who is as busy as you are so you don’t see each other and you’ll pass each other in the night so you have that kind of life. So I’m really concerned about you!”
What would happen if some of our kids discovered what God made them to do and didn’t make so much money and went to work every day and loved it instead of sixty to seventy percent of all Americans who hate their job, and were well content and learned to live on what they had and didn’t live with overwhelming debt and just had great peace and great contentment and a great relationship? Would most of us, as parents, be okay with that?
You see, you need to understand that there is a battle for the soul of your kids and the money talk and then for your kids getting, “It’s not my money, it’s not my time, these aren’t my talents, I’m going to be held accountable. God’s goal is He wants me to experience joy with Him.”
Have you had this kind of talk with them? Are those the kind of values they have? That’s what sets them up for success.
Sixth, there’s Old Testament roots here. Genesis chapter 1 verses 26 to 28 and Job chapter 1:20 and 21. And I give those just as reference. All I want you to see is God says in Genesis 1, “Let us make man,” or, “mankind in our image,” and then He says, “We’re going to make them the stewards over all the earth. They’re going to be co-regents and co-creators and we’re going to entrust the entire planet to them.”
Job will say, “Naked I came into the earth, and naked I will leave.” This is after he has lost everything. Everything that we would say would fulfill your life, family is gone, money is gone, his real estate. Everything is gone.
But Job had an interesting perspective. He said, “I came into the world naked, I’m going to leave the world naked. If God owns everything, everything He gave me was His right to give me, and if He owns it, He can take whatever away since it’s His, whenever He wants to.” Here’s the deal, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
The only thing, this is a little window called time, and all eternity, my heart’s going to be aligned with Him. Now, did Job like it? No. Was he emotionally ticked off? Yes. Did he share it honestly with God? Yes. And as he grew and went through the process, God actually multiplied many times over what he originally had.
But you need to understand, we have some of our kids who are walking away from God. I just talked with a guy last week and he has a late teenager, early college-aged son and he came to me and he said, “Dad, you know, I’m just, I’m done with being a Christian.” And his dad said, “Why?” “Well, hey, and, you know. The Bible says you’re supposed to pray and I prayed really hard about this and this and I’ve been praying about it for months and God hasn’t given it to me. If He’s not giving me what I want, why should I follow Him?”
Do you understand his theology? God owes me, the God that created all that there is and sent His Son to die in my place, His primary job is to make me self-fulfilled, give me what I want, I’m a consumer. And if God doesn’t show up on time with giving me what I want, how I want it, He’s gone.”
Do you understand how opposite that is? How warped that is? That’s not a theology of stewardship. That’s a theology of narcissism. That’s a theology of consumerism. And that’s a theology of materialism.
And if you don’t start young and teach your kids a theology of stewardship, they will grow up thinking more and more and more will satisfy, God owes them as well as everyone else. And when they don’t get what they want, when they want it, they’re devastated.
But it plays over more than just money. When the marriage isn’t what they want, how they want it, they’ll find someone new. Theology of stewardship, the money talk, is so, very, very important.