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Will Your Children Love Jesus Like You Love Money?

(originally published in 2002)

Korban is just learning about money. The other day, I paid him for helping me. Apparently seeking some other reward, he angrily threw the money on the floor and declared, “I don’t like money!”

I thought the incident was cute because, of course, he will grow up loving money – just like everyone else. Probably other kids also went through a phase where they didn’t like money, but who has heard of someone who doesn’t like money? We all love to have money.
This intersects with where we are at with childcare. We’re at the age where our kids are at the very beginnings of their relationship with God. And always on my mind is the question, “will my kids grow to love Jesus?”
So why is there this difference? I have no fear that my children will learn to love money – everybody loves money. But not everyone loves Jesus. Even children raised in good Christian homes do not always love Jesus.
There are no simplistic answers, and children make their own choices. But could it be that sometimes children go wrong because their parents focus too much on training, and too little on cherishing?
You can fake truth, but you can’t fake delight. Your children know what you delight in. And all of us delight to some extent in money. For this reason, when our children say, “I hate money!” We just chuckled to ourselves. “Just you wait Johnny,” we say secretively. “Soon enough you will know how precious money is.” Delight is so contagious, we have absolutely no fear they will eventually catch our disease.
And guess what? After years of seeing their parents scrimp and save, earned and spend, long for and glory in money, the children all grow up loving money.
So here is the convicting part. Do our children observe us craving for, working for, cherishing, delighting in, and glorying in the presence and word of God in the same way? Or is it just a pale drudgery? Is it just something that “we do.”
Your children are smart enough to know that much of what us adults do is done for very silly reasons, such as peer-pressure, insecurity, fear, selfishness, a need to belong, and habit. Your children will follow your example, but will shed most of these habits in their teens. In most cases, they will gain their own self-centered habits to replace yours.
But the delights, the deep passions of our hearts. These are not things which are easily shed.
Your children may walk away from your foibles, but they will not walk easily away from your heart.
But where is your heart? What is your deepest and truest love? Are you confident that a child following you will learn to cherish Jesus as much as they will someday cherish money?

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