Playing with Money

"The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again" (Psalm 37:21a).

Playing shopkeeper was one of my children's favorite math games while homeschooling. Frequently, we would set aside our math workbooks and set up our little store to learn money values, counting, and subtraction principles. Using miniature replicas of food items, a toy shopping cart, and a cash register, my children played for hours and never realized they were learning in the process. Substituting real money for play money made this educational game even more exciting and lifelike. Playing frequently, my children progressed until they could easily add amounts mentally and count back change correctly. Due to their play, handling money became second nature. Plus, they also learned a lifelong principle — no money, no purchase.

Unfortunately, the correct handling of money in real life is not as easy for some Christian families today. Although the Bible sets forth principles of being good stewards of God's blessings, many believers fail because they make purchases based on fleshly desires with the convenience of credit. Forgetting that these charges require an actual payment of real money, many Christians sink themselves and their families into large debts with no ability to pay. Interest rates accrue, and soon the debt load becomes so great that there is no hope of ever getting out of bondage. Breaking under the financial stress, some Christians lose friendships, ruin marriages, and perform foolish acts. The Bible speaks to this problem when it says, "The borrower is servant to the lender," and "Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts" (Proverbs 22:7b, 26).

What about you? Are you being tempted to abuse credit as you face homeschooling on one income? Don't do it! Heed God's warnings in His Word and run to Him with your needs instead. If He has called you to homeschool your children, He will provide, but He also expects you to handle what He provides correctly.

Lord, forgive me for purchasing items I have no way of repaying. Help me to discipline my spending before I destroy the things in life I truly love. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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CHRISTINA L 06/07/2010 13:07:27

Because our children are included in our everyday operation of the farm and they go with us to pick up parts, they have learned no cash no purchase. We as a family run a cash system only for all our purchases on the farm. If you do not have the money you do not buy. You save up until you can afford it or find a cheaper one somewhere else.

CARIN M 06/07/2011 06:56:40

I agree with Christina and your post. We have operated debt free for 10 years, and have been married for 13. We ended up making a financial mistake 3 years ago though that is costing financially, and without Christ could have cost much more. We had paid off our first home. A very small home, but a lovable 3 bedroom home. We made the mistake of going to a bigger home, bigger property, and safer location. We can not afford the mortgage, and are selling the home. We encourage any Christian who can to live debt free for a mortgage as well. It is a true blessing. We are down sizing again, and probably won't be able to do it debt free this time - but hope to come as close as possible. As Christians we are supposed to give, rather than have more. God Bless.

MAYA T 06/07/2011 07:26:30

This is a very challenging message. I got into debt as a college student. My husband did the same. Now we are trying to get out of this heap right now. We had no instruction on debt. With credit cards, student loans, etc,; but we believe that this isn't permanent. Jesus died for debts too. He in fact bore out debts (sin) and this is just one of those. Agree in prayer that we get out

RUBY B 06/07/2011 11:49:37

SO TRUE!!! When we see other families financially better than we are and they are able to purchase more fun items, NEW curriculum, educational games that can sometimes be so pricey, etc. when we are counting every dollar just for groceries....credit cards can be tempting. A few years back our credit had been repaired. We began to purchase items for our first family vacation. Never having credit before we made this the best camping trip. We bought everything we needed for this camping trip and more. Never thinking how we would actually pay it back but intended on paying it back. We are still paying today. Not being good stewards has paid its toll on our family with this extra expense every month that we cannot catch up on. But...the Lord is so sweet to use it for good like Rom 8:28 says...HE has used this to train us how to be wise with our cash and how important it is to train our children in the same way. This world is always a get it now world; patience and waiting are not an option anymore. We both agreed that this trip was the most memorable of all; but our failure to plan and save properly, and purchasing impulsively has been a huge mistakethat we will not make again!

RENA P 06/07/2012 06:03:11

I stopped working when our first daughter was born. We decided then to live on one income. We have taken on debt occasionally for extreme circumstances but paid it off. My husband was unemployed for 9 months a year ago. We were able to live on our savings for most of it. We had to borrow against our house for the last 2 months because we had run out of money. Our financial responsibility turned what could have been a disastrous situation, into such a tremendous blessing. The Lord did provide for us while he was unemployed in amazing ways. We enjoyed having him home so much and the kids loved him being around the house. We grew even closer as a family and had the opportunity to share our faith in God\'s provision with our children and others around us. It took us a year to pay back what we borrowed those 2 months but we are again debt free and rebuilding our savings.

KATHY S 06/07/2012 06:46:04

I believe that this entire generation (30-40 yr olds) and that of the upcoming gerneration (teens to twenties) have been taught to use credit, don\'t worry about where the money\'s coming from or how to pay it back. Probably the teens to twenties right now are getting th worse lesson, watching our \"Government\" borrow trillions of dollars with no way to pay it back. I\'m in the 40(\'s) yr old group. I got a credit card at 18 (couldn\'t wait) got my self in trouble time after time. And now, Finally, I am on my way to being free of debt, not there yet, but paying down things and actually this devotional makes me think I can do better than I am, so I will try harder not to spend on things that maybe we really don\'t need. The Generation before us, my parents (the 60 to 80+ yr olds) thought much differently that us. Maybe they were taught differently. My Mothers family had 8 children and when I say they were dirt poor, I do not exaggerate. Their first home had no \"Running Water\" or \"bathroom\" in it, yep you read that correctly, back in the 1930\'s and 1940\'s. Both of her parents had to work, and thats with 8 kids to take care of. Everything had to be made from scratch.They got a pair of \"socks\" or \"mittens\" for Christmas/Birthdays. When things got better, they finally got a bigger house, 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen that wasn\'t in the basement. So, 4 kids to a room, and one bathroom for 10 people. When I hear these stories, I wonder \"How\" did they survive? My Moms parents (my grandparents) dies both of heart attacks in their early 50\'s. My Mom and her younger sister were left on their own at age 16 and age 12. (Genetically this reminds me of why I had a heart attack a few weeks back at age 46) Anyway, our generation would never wait for the things that my Mother had to. We would never think of giving our kids a pairs of socks for their birthday, (well not as their only gift.) Maybe I\'m wrong, maybe there are other people out there in this day and age who live differentlly than I do. When my Mom and Dad got married, it wasn\'t a 30,000.00 wediing, as we do now days. They had about 10 people there and went out for dinner. The monitary gifts they received, just paid for the dinner. The car that they used for their photo\'s, wasn\'t theirs, it was my Uncles. They too struggled, but the \"mentality\" was different back then. We ghad a Black and white T.V. until they could afford to buy a color one. One car for the family, never went out to eat when we were little, no family vacations, 4 gifts each for Christmas, and most of those gifts were used, donated to us from my Mom\'s close friend. We are alive. I still don\'t know how my Mom survived her childhood, and adulthood for that matter. I know there are many of you who are not frivilous people, I see it in your writings, actually it seems as though most of us homeschoolers are struggling more than most. But, in society, it\'s an \"I gotta have it now\" way of life. And a good portion of this upcoming generation has no idea how to mange money, how to even go out and Earn money. Thanks for this devotional, as you can see, it truly made me think.

TABITHA J 06/07/2012 09:41:37

My husband and I are starting our game plan of getting out of debt (credit card, student loans and other educational expenses, medical bills, and old debt) and use the credit cards only to pay the bills because those bills have due dates. Other than that, we are saving until we can afford that item.

KIMBERLY H 06/07/2012 10:45:08

I like the one-third rule: a third to debt, a third to savings, and a third to a need/giving. This way you are building you savings, paying down any debt, and still able to take care of a need and/or give. Of course, it is best to stay out of debt, but if you are in debt, this is practical. Kim H

ANA M 06/07/2012 19:18:13

Wow. I am in my 40\'s, a kid in college, studying to be a missionary pilot, married to an unbeliever, business owner, have a home, extremely in debt, that have caused our marriage to be in total distress. We thought 10 hrs ago that by working harder we would eventually be able to save, pay our bills and live the good life. Well, it got caught up to us a few hrs ago. Our only hope is God and prayer, because when married to someone who doesn\'t see the Godly priorities, it\'s like trying to convince a fish he can\'t swim. I appreciate all of your prayers. Thanks

KIM H 06/14/2012 20:12:05

Kimberly H My husband and I don\'t use credit cards. Though when I became unable to work and we got caught up in a bad morgage(from a company no longer in business) we lost our home. Now we watched many other couples suffer the same thing, and for many it unfortunately affected their marriages. My husband and I explained to our children that as long as we keep God in our hearts he will provide. That it is not a house that makes a home, but the people within that make the home. It took 5 years for my disability to be approved, but my children know the value of a dollar, they also have learned that it\'s not money that makes us rich, it is Family, Love and God in our lives that makes us rich. I hope my children will always carry these trials with them so that they will know what is impotant.

Donna Marie Johnson 06/08/2014 18:47:19

I love the discussion - community that has formed around this topic. Yes, I agree this is so important to learn from a young age... and to do it in ways that are fun and engaging; and not scary or shaming. Associating money with good and fun will help your kids be much more interested in making great money choices as they mature. For me, this is a contrast ... because of my parents' money drama throughout my life, it made money very much not fun and scary to me once I became an adult. However, I am glad to say that my husband and I have really gotten on one accord about money and it has made a huge difference for our marriage and for our parenting. I am grateful that we have put God as the head in the area of our finances. Yes, we are still growing and learning, but at least we have his guidance and his grace in our money matters. ~Donna

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