Look through any family photo album and you will find a study of both time and history. Turn to the early years, when time is evenly measured by births and first steps and first days of school. The pace quickens as you turn the page to see birthday celebrations, shiny new bicycles, and pizza parties after baseball games. Turn the page again to find the pace has accelerated even further, with driving lessons and school proms and graduations now dominating the scene. But by the time parents are placing pictures of their children's weddings in their album, or proudly framing school photographs of their grandchildren, they have learned to savor their family's history and appreciate the time that has passed.
Invisibly threaded throughout all the memories--wrapped up in every family history--is money. Rich or poor, Christian or not, money, in part, defines every family. How a family acquires it, wrestles with it, protects it, and gives it, money plays a role in who that family is. And just as great memories do not happen by accident, a family's view of money does not simply materialize out of nothing.
Photo albums certainly do not create a family's values, but they do capture moments and preserve them as a remembrance for later reflection. But in order to store a memory, you must first make it. Parents play a tremendous role in determining the culture of a family, by deciding what is worth doing, worth believing, worth tolerating, and worth letting go. Parents teach this by example, but if they wish to deeply instill biblical values into their children and see them passed on to their children's children, they have to act intentionally. They need a plan.
The best plans start with careful consideration of several key questions. Such as, how will you establish the financial culture of your family? How will you think about money personally? And how will those thoughts--your financial philosophy--affect what you do with the things the Lord has given you? Your financial philosophy--the one you pass on to your children--will be the sum total of the answers to your questions about money. The key is to ask the right questions, with answers founded in Scripture:
- Who really owns the things you have? See Deuteronomy 8:18 and Psalm 24:1.
- How will you handle the assets entrusted by God to your care? See Matthew 25:14-30 and 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
- When is it enough? See Matthew 6:31-33 and Philippians 4:11-12.
- Where should it go in the end? See Galatians 6:8-10 and 1 Timothy 6:7-10.
Every family will answer these questions, whether they mean to or not, and their lives will be a living response to each one. Every one of us has a financial philosophy, but most people do not take time to examine their philosophies. And sadly, most do not look to Scripture to provide the foundation for the way they think about money. But as you consider the truths in God's Word about your money and its use, you can develop an approach that pleases Him. ICR stands ready to help you in this regard and would be delighted to work with you. Please contact us at 800.337.0375 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Mr. Morris is Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris IV, H. 2010. Financial Philosophy. Acts & Facts. 39 (3): 21.