By monthly contributor, Ann Dunagan of Harvest Ministry.
As Christian families, we need God’s perspective on finances, and a vision for how our resources can help to expand His kingdom – especially in tough times.
In our family’s living room, a small handcrafted treasure chest displays simple coins from around the world. Most of the pieces are dull and worn, while some a new and shiny. Our children often enjoy fingering the various francs from France, pulas from Botswana, and euros from Europe, to mention just a few. My favorite is an intricate gold-and-silver-colored piece from Italy, although, as with most of these coins, I have no idea of its worth. Some of the coins are no longer in circulation; some of the countries they’re from no longer exist. All are simply extra pocket change left over from years of past mission trips, each saved as little souvenirs and little reminders that money is only a temporary “little thing.” Each coin is (or was) valuable only because some government somewhere determined it would have value.
But money is also a “big thing” – and we can’t underestimate the importance of training our children to have a godly perspective toward money and financial stewardship.
Our money represents our life; our time, our talents, our education and experiences, and our priorities. In fact, if we really want to find out what is important to us, we can simply look back through our checkbooks and credit card statements over the past few months. Our true priorities are right there in black and white (or red!); and the numbers don’t lie.
It’s really very simple. If we have a heart for the Lord and for the lost, we will give our resources to glorify Him and to help spread His Gospel message; and if our children are raised with this perspective, it will affect their bottom-line attitude toward the purpose of money. Both parents and children need to acknowledge regularly that everything we have ultimately belongs to God: our life is God’s, our home (or bedroom) is God’s, our car (or bicycle, or special toy) is God’s, our money is God’s.
We’re all simply stewards of God’s “stuff.”
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, J.G. Morrison urged Nazarenes to increase missionary support, as he earnestly pleaded: “Can’t you do just a little bit more?”
When times are tough, our families need to “sow in famine” (like Isaac in Genesis 26:12) and “lay up treasures in heaven” (like Jesus commanded in Matthew 6:20). Physical needs worldwide are greater than ever; orphan children desperately need help; sacrificing missionaries need continual support and prayers; and billions of people need to hear the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
During today’s economic downturn, let’s do more for the needs of world missions. Let’s be faithful stewards of the many resources God has given us, and let’s encourage our children to participate.
As mission-minded families, let’s do just a little bit more.
The post is adapted from my book, The Mission-Minded Family. Right now, our mission outreach, Harvest Ministry, is running a special on my two-book-set (The Mission-Minded Child & The Mission-Minded Family — at our COST!). We also have a new FREE 30-page guide using these books (to mentor your family or a small group in a 4-week study). If you’re interested in learning more, please CONTACT me through our website, and put “MM-FAMILIES SUMMER SPECIAL” in the subject line, and I’ll send you more information (with no obligation). My heart is to motivate families for missions — right now, right where you’re at!!!
Missionary Hudson Taylor said, “The Great Commission is not an option to consider, it is a command to obey.” I say, “Missions is not just for missionaries; God’s call is for all!”
Blessings to you and yours!!!