MONEY, FRIEND OR FOE?
When I was going to school, this title, “Friend or Foe,” was used for teaching as it relates to fire. The assignment was trying to impress our young minds that fire was not to be played with until we were mature enough to handle it properly. There were pictures on both sides of the page. One was about how fire could be our friend. On the other side, there was a picture about how fire could be our foe.
When fire is our friend, it can do us a lot of good. It can warm us when we are cold, cook our food, and get rid of unwanted trash.
When fire is our foe, it can devastate us. Very recently, our neighbor’s nearly new house caught fire and burned to the ground. How heartrending it was to see all that work and all their personal possessions gone in just a few hours. As adults we know these things, and therefore we do not let our children play with matches.
This principle also applies to money. Money can certainly also be either friend or foe. We do not read in the Bible that God created money, but somewhere in the process of time, He allowed man to start using money as a medium of exchange. In the day and age in which we now live, it would seem impossible to live without at least some of it.
However, the way our human nature is, it can quickly attach itself to money or the things it will do for us. Money gives us a certain amount of power and ability to do things, which appears quite desirable.
Let us take a look at a few things that money can do to be our friend. First of all, it can buy our families food to eat. In North America it is hard to imagine not having enough money to buy our food. It can buy us a roof over our heads. We buy vehicles and many other necessary things for day-to-day living. We can use it to help someone in need or give it to our mission programs. It can help us build church buildings to worship in. And just think of how much our schools cost. The money has to come from somewhere. What a blessing our schools have been to us. You can think of many more places where it can be used for good.
Now what about money as our foe? When it is not used wisely or when it is used selfishly, it can bring much trouble and hardship to us and to others. We can buy things that are addictive, items for entertainment, or things that will bring attention to ourselves. We can go places that do not help us in our Christian lives. We can buy things that are lawful but not expedient, or things that will make our brother stumble. The list could go on.
As Christians we know what we want to do. We have given our lives completely over to God. So this would include our money and what we do with it. In Jesus’s prayer for us, He prayed that God would not take us out of this world but that He would keep us from the evil.
So our challenge and privilege is to understand what God’s will is for us. The Bible says that the way is simple, but we seem to think it is not always easy to know what to do with our money, whatever amount that might be. This is often because we have not let go. When we have given this over to God, it is amazing how we get direction from the Spirit or our brethren, and then money can be our friend.
Following are a few thoughts about teaching our children about money. They catch our thoughts and actions very quickly and how we use it. Just like teaching our children how to use fire wisely, we can help them in this area. We help our young boys make a bonfire in a safe place when we think they are responsible enough. We can do the same in money matters.
It is a good idea to give our children some money to use and, with it, give them pointers how to use it in such a way that it will be their friend. Too much at a young age only seems to hurt them, for their minds are not mature enough to handle it. We, as fathers, should be involved and interested in how our young people use their money and help them to form principles that will go with them for life.
Young people, do not be afraid to ask for help or advice from your grandparents about this issue. They have seen a lot in life, and often there is good counsel to be had for the asking.
God has a safe and happy way for us to find our way through this life. Let us face the challenge prayerfully, so that we can prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2).
From Messenger of Truth, Vol. 112, No. 13, June 25, 2014