Freedom from bondage to Pluto
Our goal in educating our children about money is to save them from being enslaved by Pluto. It is to enable them to draw a clear distinction between loyalty to Jesus and devotion to Pluto.
Symptoms of devotion to Pluto include envying the rich, mocking the poor, being preoccupied with making money, being thrilled to buy things, admiring expensive things and wanting to have them, attributing significance to the clothes, manner, or connections of others, and feeling superior or inferior on the basis of money. Our Olympian culture further lures us into bondage to Pluto with advertising, lotteries, legalized gambling, and sweepstakes.
No method of teaching can prevent our children from becoming enslaved by Pluto. Education alone is not enough. Only Jesus can save them from him.
Our primary spiritual weapon against this bondage is prayer. We may pray for our children. In doing so we acknowledge Jesus as lord. We testify that Jesus is our lord, their lord, and lord over Pluto. Jesus alone can and will liberate our children—and us—from the power of Pluto.
Through seeking God’s kingdom first
We also help to liberate our children from the power of money by setting an example for them of such liberation. The symptoms of possession are sins. Avoidance of sin is not a question of morality but of faith. We witness to the deliverance that is ours in Christ, then, when we seek first God’s kingdom, when we set our minds on the things that are above.
Our start each day is the recognition that God loves us. Our goal each day is to witness to the truth, freedom, love, and vitality that are ours in Jesus Christ.
This is the foundation of our children’s education. Our goal is to help them discern the meaning of God’s love in their daily living. As our children focus more intently on God’s love, they will pull away from lesser loves. We all lose interest in money and possessions, and they lose their importance to us, when we focus instead on God’s word. Detachment from money requires attachment to praying, to reading the Bible, and to living as radiant witnesses to Jesus.
Through being generous
We also witness to our freedom from Pluto by cultivating a generous spirit. We need to teach our children that God’s graciousness toward us means that now we may be gracious toward others. One particularly appropriate parable is the one about the servant who, though his enormous debt was canceled by his master, refused to cancel the tiny debt owed him by a fellow servant (Matthew 18:23-35).
To learn to give, to develop a spirit of generosity, we need to allow our children to choose the people with whom they will give gifts and the particular gift to be given. Doing so enables us to see how our children are learning about money. We are able to see whether, when giving to someone, the gift is a token of a self-giving commitment to that person or a means to an end. We manifest a spirit of generosity by giving ourselves to others.
(Today’s reflections were guided by Jacques Ellul’s book, Money and Power (trans. LaVonne Neff, Inter-Varsity Press, 1984).
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