Wednesday, April 24, 2013
I've been slowly making my way through Katie Davis' book Kisses from Katie. I'm reading it slowly not because it's hard to read or uninteresting, but because I'm finding that Katie has so many incredible insights that I really want to chew slowly on them.
For those who don't know of her, Katie Davis left home at as a young woman just out of high school and is pursuing God's calling as a missionary in Uganda. At the time of publication, she had adopted 13 girls and is still only in her mid 20s. She has started a non-profit organization which helps children attain the funds and supplies they need to attend school. She is doing incredible things for the Lord. And her insight into Scripture at such a young age amazes me.
Towards the beginning of the book, Katie shares this profound thought: "God did not make too many people and not enough resources to go around."
It's a simple thought that I'm sure we've all entertained, but one that I have never really put much effort into. I live a comfortable life. I have a large family to care for and work to do so on a budget. We try not to overspend, but we certainly don't lack anything. And even in years of want, the Lord has always provided all we needed and even more. The kind of life Katie describes in Uganda is completely foreign to me. I cannot imagine eating one meal a day, having only one change of clothes, suffering the pain of sores on my feet because I can't afford shoes.
And yet, Katie is completely right. God has provided enough in this world for all the people he has created. So why am I not setting a better example for my children in sharing the bounty God has lavished on us?
There's a second book I'm reading right now. It's part of the curriculum I'm doing with my two oldest children. It's a book on economics by Richard J. Maybury called Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?
Honestly, the word economics scares me. And the thought of trying to teach financial responsibility to my children is daunting. I am after all the person who really truly thought that I would continue to get money out of an ATM even though the bank account tally kept dwindling. Yeah, that's a little embarrassing to admit, but it was a good lesson for me as I struck out on my own for the first time.
Maybury has written a book that is not only understandable for someone like me, but is also a book my children are finding interesting and educational. We're combining it with some studies for kids put out by Crown Financial Ministries. Maybury spends much time in his book explaining inflation - what it is, where it comes from, what the effects are, etc.
One of the quotes I found particularly interesting was this, "At bottom, inflation is an ethics problem. The only way to stop the spread of inflation is to start the spread of ethics. After traveling in 48 states and 45 countries, I have come to believe that all major problems are problems in ethics. When we begin using ethics to attack problems, we will have real, lasting solutions."
What this tells me as a mother, as a homemaker, as a consumer, as a woman, as an American, and as a child of God, is that the problems Katie recognizes in Uganda and the problems we are now dealing with as a nation all have the same source. It's not just that people don't know how to use money responsibly - or even how to attain money. It's that we are lacking the ethical decision making necessary to use and gain money wisely.
So, if I am to be teaching my children financial responsibility, I cannot neglect the importance of wisdom. So many proverbs written by King Solomon and included in the Bible come to mind when I think of wisdom in regards to money.
"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold." Proverbs 3:13-14
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it." Proverbs 3:27
"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man." Proverbs 6:6, 10-11
"The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death." Proverbs 11:3-4
"Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm, but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure." Proverbs 11:15
And here's one that speaks directly to this particular blog post:
"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." Proverbs 11:24
I could go on and on quoting from the book of Proverbs. But the recurring and underlying theme is that wise dealings in money, life, and faith lead to profit in all those areas. So as I teach my children financial responsibility and point out potential pitfalls, as I seek to model for them a generous lifestyle, I must couple it with the "whys" set forth in Scripture. The "whys" of the wise.