Before I make good on the title of this blog, I need to make a confession. Ooh, this is gonna be tough. When our first son was born, some friends pitched in and opened a $100 savings account for him. What a great gift, hey? But our son never saw it. I was still in college. We were living on a shoestring. And one day we didn’t have money for food. So we drained that account and never repaid it.
I know. How low is that? Stealing from an infant. I did the math and calculated that if we hadn’t robbed our son and never put another dime in his account, and if it had earned 5 percent interest compounded monthly, the balance today would be $665.96. Round up to the nearest dollar and you get a creepy number. But it sure shows why the Bible says that wise people are savers.
My wife and I have since learned not only that the Bible has much to say about managing money, but also that handling money wisely helps us to follow Jesus more closely. Specifically:
Saving becomes a discipline that helps us say no to less important things so we can say yes to the right things.
Budgeting helps us plan to use the money we have to meet our needs and the needs of others.
Giving teaches us to be generous with what we have and to hold it loosely.
Jesus demonstrated all of these characteristics—disciplined intentionality, providing for your own needs while sharing with others, and practicing generosity. This means we can help our kids be more like Jesus by teaching and helping them practice biblical financial principles.
As a missionary, you may be skeptical about the idea of teaching your kids to manage money. One reason may be that you don’t have much discretionary income. Consider this. If my wife and I had left that $100 in our son’s account and added just $5.00 to it each month, the balance today would be $7,457.42.
And if you’re the parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle of a missionary, just imagine the creative ways you could help your loved ones on the field be like Jesus by encouraging them to save and give. You could start by simply helping them open a savings account and showing them how to be disciplined and generous with their money.
As you’d expect, ECCU offers a variety of savings account options. For kids just getting started, there’s a basic savings account. As they get older, a money market savings account might make more sense. You’ll also find ECCU savings account options for missionaries.
And in case you were concerned, let me assure you that we’ve given that $665.96 and then some back to our son. Better yet, today he’s a budgeter, saver and generous giver.