Focus on the Family Broadcast

God-Honoring Money Habits for Kids

God-Honoring Money Habits for Kids

Matt Bell explains how parents can teach their children to budget, tithe, save, invest and serve with the money they have at an age-appropriate level.
Original Air Date: April 5, 2023


Matt Bell: But along the way those heart issues are crucial because money is not just a spreadsheet sort of thing. It’s not a calculator sort of thing. It’s a heart sort of thing, you know, where our money is, there our heart will be also, is what the Bible says.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Well, that’s Matt Bell and he’s our guest today on Focus on the Family, talking about how to teach your kids about finances. Even if they’re as young as four, five, or six, they can start to learn now to manage their own money, and the conversation is gonna help you set up your child for success. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, I know parents who have been really intentional about teaching their children about how to manage money and, uh, most of them have done really well. They’re adults now, if you can believe that.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I used to know these kids that now they’re adults.

John: Yeah. (laughs) Yes.

Jim: Um, it doesn’t always work that way but predictably it will and, uh, other kids that, uh, maybe weren’t taught those, uh, principles might not be doing as well with those dollars.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: The point is the choices we make about money can have repercussions for generations.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And our attitude that we teach our kids involuntarily, probably, uh, it matters and today we’re gonna cover that so you won’t have the excuse, “I didn’t know what to teach my kids.”

John: (laughs) Right, and we have a great guest, Matt Bell. Uh, he’s a personal finance writer and a speaker. He’s the managing editor at Sound Mind Investing. His wife, uh, is named Jude and they have three children and he’s written a great new book with Focus on the Family. It’s called Trusted: Preparing Your Kids for a Lifetime of God-Honoring Money Management. Get a copy from us here at the ministry, uh, at or when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Matt, welcome to Focus.

Matt: Thank you. It’s really an honor and I’m just so grateful for the opportunity.

Jim: It’s great and it’s good to have you and thanks for partnering with us on the book. Um, it’s always great when we have good content that we can provide together, and hopefully, change people’s lives for the better, right?

Matt: Yes.

Jim: That’s the goal.

Matt: That is the goal.

Jim: Let me kick off with, uh, something you mention in the book which is comparing your financial journey to, I think one of my favorite, uh, parables is, uh, the prodigal son. I’ve never thought about it in a financial context-

Matt: Mm.

Jim: … other than the one son squanders all his inheritance.

Matt: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So I get that part. How did you relate to it?

Matt: Yeah, well that’s basically it. I mean, it really checks a lot (laughs) of the boxes of that, of that parable.

Jim: Mm.

Matt: So when I was in my mid-20s I inherited about $60,000 from an uncle. Total surprise. I had no idea this money-

Jim: Love those uncles.

Matt: (laughing) It was a good surprise. I mean, I’m sad that he passed away.

Jim: (laughs) Sure. Well, of course.

Matt: But for him to be generous to me like that was-

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: … a, an unexpected gift and I really had good intentions with that money. I thought if I could do something unique. Why, why don’t I create a business that I would love to do all of my days?

Jim: How old are you at this point?

Matt: I was mid-20s.

Jim: Wow, that’s nice.

Matt: So 24-ish, 25-ish. And, um, I love to play golf, I love to travel, so I tried to think of a way to create a business out of that and I created a newsletter for people who take golf vacations-

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: … which became this great excuse to go and play Pebble Beach, which I did, and play some of the great golf courses in North Carolina and even Southern Spain and Puerto Rico, so it was great. It was really everything I dreamed it might be except profitable.

Jim: (laughing) The most important part of a business.

John: Yes.

Matt: Yeah, so I was loving life. I was, when I was back home in Chicago where I was living at the time I was enjoying some of the better restaurants and clothing stores and really just having a good time with what seemed like this endless supply of money. But it wasn’t an endless supply of money, and so when the money ran out, I was so blind to what was happening with that money and so acclimated to the life I was living that I just kept funding that life on credit cards-

Jim: Oh, okay.

Matt: … to the point where I would spend $20,000 in credit card debt. So, yeah, inherited some money, traveled to some distant countries (laughs) to play golf in this case, squandered the money. My parents encouraged me to move home with them for a time, which I did, which I’m so thankful that they were there for me.

Jim: Yeah, sure.

Matt: But to go from basically living the life to living in my parents’ basement in the small town where I grew up, that was really tough. And I literally found out what it means to be depressed for a first couple of months out there. But through that experience, a good friend from college who would become a Christian after I graduated, he reached out and shared his faith with me and that kinda set me on a path of exploring matters of faith and 11 months later gave my, gave my heart to, to Jesus. And, um, and that was, you know, so p- some, (laughs) somebody said recently, “If you think back to that 60 grand, what that would be worth today if you invested it.”

Jim: Yeah, right. (laughing) No, no, don’t do that. (laughing) We don’t even wanna think about that. Matt, we’re gonna let you off the hook.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: But let me ask you about your relationship with God in that, in that way. I mean, you made that commitment to Christ and, and then how it related to money. I mean, obviously, you’re a money guy. I can kinda sense you’re a numbers guy. I think you probably like that. And people would say, you know, you look at the scripture, there’s two things that are really talked about a lot. A relationship with God and money.

Matt: That’s right.

Jim: So money matters.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim: But, uh, how did that relate for you, God and money?

Matt: Yeah, well it was a huge wake-up call for me. It, it told me, look, if you can take 60 grand as a gift and turn it into 20 grand of credit card debt, you’ve got a few things to learn about money.

Jim: Yeah, (laughs) you’re going the wrong direction.

Matt: (laughs) So I started learning. I just became a sponge and the first church I started going to as a new Christian, they had a stewardship ministry. I never heard of such a thing. I never heard of a church teaching about money. I’ve heard of churches asking for money, but I never heard of, of a church teaching people about money. And-

Jim: Stop right there. If you’d like to support Focus on the Family… (laughing) No, go ahead. I’m sorry.

Matt: Um, so it was, it was very eye-opening for me and I, and I just had a hunger. I thought, “Wow, I’d love to serve in this ministry.” I think they were hurting for volunteers. (laughs) I really should have been served by the ministry but I got a chance to start serving in some ways where I couldn’t hurt people too badly-

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: … and just loved it. And just loved teaching people and as I was learning and, and getting my, myself out of debt, I just, I, I… Through that experience, I, I found, uh, Christ. I found faith and I found my life’s work.

Jim: Yeah, that’s so good. You know, often, I think in the Book of Matthew, it’s referred to as, “You can only either love God or love money.”

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: You know, you can’t do both.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: You can’t replace one for the other. Some people might be confused by that. What, what does the definition of loving money… We all need it. What does loving money look like?

Matt: Yeah, I think a lot of people think that the Bible says that money is the root of all evil. But it doesn’t say that. It says, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

Jim: Mm.

Matt: And there is an important distinction there because, you know, money is a tool. Money is a gift. Money can be used for so much good. Money is, it’s impartial by itself but we do things with money. We start to think ways about money. We get attached to money. We, we think money means something and so that’s where our hearts can get wrapped up in money and we can start serving money instead of using money as a tool.

Jim: Huh, that’s good. I mean, and it’s clear. You wanna love God not money.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim: (laughs) And so. But it all revolves… I mean, this is how the economy works, right? Um, as parents, it can feel daunting to, uh, consider how to start teaching your kids about money. Jean and I did the 10% for savings, 10% for tithe-

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: … when they were little, and, uh, you know, then the other 80%, we’ll talk about how to spend that wisely, right?

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: Which usually ended up being, uh, something like the Death Star Lego build.

John: (laughing)

Jim: But… For $600. I was proud of Trent.

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: He saved up for that one.

Matt: Hmm.

Jim: And, uh, I think we met him halfway but he had to save up $300, $400.

Matt: Yeah, that’s great.

Jim: As a 12, 13-year-old. So that was good. But, but speak to that idea of the role of a parent to help their children better understand money. Sometimes parents, we’re not thinking about, it’s not on our radar. I’m just trying to keep him off the screens today.

Matt: (laughs) Right.

Jim: Teaching him about money is something four or five steps down the road.

Matt: Right. Yeah, I like to think of, uh, and tell people, “Look, there’s so much at stake here and there’s so much potential here in teaching our kids at money.” There’s so much at stake here because it isn’t that if we don’t teach our kids about money they won’t learn. They will learn but the consumer culture will be the teacher.

John: Mm.

Matt: And that typically doesn’t work out very well. And so there’s a lot at stake here but there’s also a lot of potential here, meaning that if a young kid can start to understand money from a biblical perspective and, and start to develop certain financial and some biblically informed financial practices with money, the good that can be done is immeasurable.

Jim: Mm.

Matt: So I like to think about compounding or exponential returns, which is typically talked about with investing. You know, you can turn $100 a month over the course of 50 years if it’s invested at the typical stock market return, historically that’ll turn into $1.7 million. I did the math. I am a bit of a numbers guy.

Jim: That’s amazing, actually.

John: (laughs)

Jim: 1.7 million?

Matt: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: Wow.

Matt: And, and so that’s exponential growth and that same principle can be applied to so many aspects of money. If we get a young person with a generous heart and we foster that generous heart and we wrapped it in some generous practices, you think about the impact that God could have through her over her lifetime, not just in the tangible investments and God-honoring causes, in, in life-changing eternity shaping causes, but in her own heart and the joy with which she lives, the meaning with which she lives. You think about a young boy who grows up with a, an understanding that he’s not the brands he wears.

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: He’s not the car he’s gonna drive, you know? He is a child of God if he’s placed his faith in Christ and, and to grow up with a healthy, grateful perspective on money and an intention to use it wisely because it’s God’s and so I’m gonna be intentional to use it wisely, the good that could come about from that child into their long-term relationship with Christ, into their relationship with their future spouse, into their ability to make the difference with their life they were designed to make, it’s immeasurable.

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: So I love the idea of helping parents (laughing) teach their kids about money.

Jim: Well let’s get into it. You mention in the book, uh, four temperaments-

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: … that children have toward money. What are they?

Matt: Yeah, well there are four… So there’s different temperament classification systems out there but the simplest one goes back to Hippocrates, the father (laughs) of modern medicine. And so, let’s see if I can remember them. It’s the, the choleric and it’s the, uh, sanguine, the melancholy, and the phlegmatic. And so those are not just, you know, we all have a certain God-given design and that’s a gift. We were designed a certain way intentionally and financially speaking, there are financial ramifications that come with each temperament. There are financial strengths that come with these temperaments and there are some financial kinda watch outs that come with them. I mean, as adults, I often find that if we’re arguing with our spouse about something, it’s typically not what we think it’s about. It’s often a clash of temperaments. We’re seeing the world through very different perspectives and that’s our temperament. And so we can start to identity that in our kids. I mean, when a kid is maybe early teens or so, they can start to discern their temperament and start to become a student of how God has wired them up because, like I said, each temperament comes with certain inherent financial strengths and certain inherent financial weaknesses.

Jim: Yeah. Let me, let me just pull out an example.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: So pick one that may be the, on either extreme-

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: … uh, where you’re spending a lot or you’re like saving a lot.

Matt: Right. So the sanguine temperament. The sanguine is kind of the outgoing, life of the party, the sort of person everybody loves to be around. They’re very engaging. They’re very winsome. And so this person naturally tends to be a giver. They love to be generous. They’re, they’re very thoughtful in, in being generous. The downside is they don’t typically like to use a budget. A budget hems them in.

Jim: (laughs) Man, I’m feeling it right now.

Matt: (laughing)

Jim: You might be talking about me. (laughing)

Matt: Somebody once said, “I’ve never met a sanguine accountant.” (laughing) You know?

Jim: It’s probably true.

Matt: It is, probably very true.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Yeah.

Matt: And so, again, some strengths, some weaknesses and so to be a student of how God has wired us up and to learn to maximize our strengths and kind of manage around our weaknesses would be a good thing.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah, let’s go to the other extreme where y- “What, there’s a birthday party? Do I have to spend money on that?”

Matt: (laughs) So that might be the phlegmatic.

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: So the phlegmatic, if you’re a saver of stuff and of money, if your closets are brimming with stuff, you might be a phlegmatic. Phlegmatic tend to be the most likable of all the temperaments. They tend to be very easygoing, very steady as you go, kinda the steady plotter sort of person. When it comes to money, though, they tend to be pretty frugal to the point of maybe being a little cheap and so even giving can be a challenge for a phlegmatic.

Jim: (laughs) That, those are the extremes, to get the other two? Get the buck. (laughing)

Matt: Exactly.

Jim: Matt, y- you’ve mentioned in your book that the, uh, the heart change is a big part of making smart financial choices.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: Um, how do we coach that into our kids?

Matt: Yeah, so I talk about three parenting roles in the book and in through these parenting roles, we can get at those heart issues. So the parenting roles are the gatekeeper. So that’s the, the one where it’s not always fun to say no to our kids but it’s really healthy to say no to our kids to set parameters and boundaries. So they’ve spent their entire allowance, now they see something else, they’re coming to you for a loan. Just say no. Kinda hard to do but good for their character development. The, the next one is the teacher where we’re overtly teaching God’s word, so in the house of the wise there’s stores of choice food and oil but a foolish person devours all they have. Good for a kid to memorize that-

Jim: Mm.

Matt: … that we’re not gonna spend it all. We’re gonna maintain a reserve. That’s a God-honoring thing to do, and now we’re teaching them where to save that money. And then the role model is the most important one, (laughs) might be the most convincing one, where we need to be kinda living out loud in front of our kids. But along the way those heart issues are crucial because money is not just a spreadsheet sort of thing. It’s not a calculator sort of thing. It’s a heart sort of thing-

Jim: Mm.

Matt: … you know, where, where our money is, there our heart will be also, is what the Bible says. I used to think it should be the other way around but really it’s more profound the way the Bible (laughs) teaches it, no surprise, that where, where our, our treasure is, there our heart will be also. And so as we start to orient our finances in God-honoring ways, it deepens our faith.

Jim: You know, uh, Matt, with some parents, and I, I am in this category, the bombardment of our children in a consumer oriented economy like ours.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: I mean, America is a great nation and I’m so thankful that it was shaped and formed the way it was and I think it’s the best system, given the foibles of humanity.

Matt: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Um, it pulls on the best things and then hopefully, like you said, we will be a morally sound people, a religious people, that can give and do the things that God requires of our-

Matt: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … wealth and of our abundance. So that’s the ideal. But now pull it back to, I mean, television or screen time, and bang, get these tennis shoes, bang, get this kinda outfit. Bang. I mean, it’s just, it’s all day long. Probably hundreds of impressions if not thousands of impressions every day.

Matt: That’s right.

Jim: You have a story in the book about your son Jonathan that kinda illustrated some of this. What happened?

Matt: So when Jonathan was very young, um, we were at a stage of life where I was being very frugal, (laughing) especially frugal, and I, I cut our cable television subscription at the time. We got a, got an antenna for the TV.

Jim: Yeah, we did that.

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: And so the problem was it didn’t work very well. But we got one particular channel that the kids loved to watch and it was the strangest thing because, yeah, there was some good kids’ programs on there, but they had this strange mix of commercials and in fact, one day I was making breakfast in the kitchen and Jonathan wandered in after watching some TV and he said, “Dad,” very earnestly, “Do you need money right now?”

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: He had seen a Payday Today commercial on TV, on a kids program.

Jim: Payday loans?

Matt: Right.

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: And so I assured him, “No, we don’t need money right now.” And he toddled back over to, to watch the program.

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: But then that’s right, and, and so it’s become so much more sophisticated. Advertising and marketing, you know, even the word consumer, that word didn’t use to be the common way that we were described. We were described as workers or citizens but in the, around the 1920s we started being referred to as consumers. And if you look it up, that means to use up and, and waste and squander. (laughs) And you say, “Well, that explains a lot, right?”

Jim: Hmm.

Matt: Um, but I want our kids to grow up as stewards or managers of God’s resources, not consumers.

Jim: Well, and again, uh, saving is, uh… It can be an elusive treat, if I could say it that way. It, it does have great benefits. I mean, saving money, then you can buy a car and not have to take a loan or-

Matt: Right.

Jim: … as much of a loan, et cetera.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: But it, it can be a hard concept for a child who doesn’t understand delayed gratification and all.

Matt: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So, so how do you teach a child, “Hey, just wait for that lollipop.”

Matt: Yeah. It’s so important because you’re right, saving money does build that character trait of delayed gratification and so that’s where we close the bank of mom and dad. That’s where-

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: … like I said earlier, the kid uses up the entire, um, allowance this week and wants something else, we close the bank of mom and dad and we say, “You’re gonna need to wait. You’re gonna need to save for that. We will get that eventually but we’re gonna need to be patient and wait for it.” We can foster waiting in a variety of ways, even some non-financial ways. Just planting vegetables together. Just setting up family rituals like nobody eats dinner until everybody’s seated and we’ve given thanks for the food. Certain waiting rituals can help our kids learn to wait and then, like I said, when it comes to buying things, no, we’re not gonna but everything that our kids want and we’re not gonna give them loans to get what they want. Um, they’re gonna need to wait. So just building that in as an expectation, that fosters delayed gratification which is one of the most important character traits.

John: Mm.

Jim: That’s good.

John: If you’ve got kids, I know you’re relating to what Matt Bell is sharing today on Focus on the Family. Good stuff and, uh, he’s captured, uh, these concepts and so much more in his book, um, that has been published by Focus on the Family called Trusted: Preparing Your Kids for a Lifetime of God-Honoring Money Management. Contact us today for your copy. 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY or stop by

Jim: Matt, you suggest in the book the proudest moment of your parenting, which I loved, uh, was, uh, around money and something that happened in a clothing store.

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: So what happened?

Matt: Yeah. I’m not sure it was the proudest moment of my entire parenting journey-

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: … but it was a proud moment for sure.

Jim: Good. Okay.

Matt: So we had been using a principle that we learned from Mary Hunt’s great book Raising Financially Confident Kids and that is that we give our kids some of the money and make them responsible for certain fin- certain categories.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Matt: So in this case clothing. So we had been with our kids many times before at the clothing store. They’ve been able to pick out what they want and we told them how much they could spend and, and that was fine. But this was different. We gave them cash. We said, “All right, $25 a month you get, each of you, for, for clothing. You need to manage it on your own.” So I’m at the store with, with Andrew and Anika and they’re shopping for clothing and they’re holding an envelope full of $25 each and they’re navigating and making decisions, making tradeoffs. Two of these or just one of those? And, “I really want this but I can’t afford it so maybe I’ll save up next month’s allocation for clothing.” And just watching them, it showed me what I call the funnel method or, or what we learned early in our parenting journey, the funnel method of parenting that we start small with responsibilities that we entrust to our kids and we open the funnel wider over time and give them more responsibility. I was watching that in practice. I was seeing them making these decisions, taking their envelope of cash to the cashier, paying for it, getting the change back, and on the one hand, I thought, “Wow. They’re making thoughtful decisions. They’re really owning this.” That was really, really satisfying to see that and it was a little bittersweet because we want to put ourselves out of jobs. (laughs) We want to raise kids that can make decisions on their, on our own, but I saw that as never before, that, “Oh, wow. We really are putting ourselves out of a job.”

Jim: I think we did that for a while and then we realized the money’s not in the envelope and there’s no new clothes. (laughing) What happened? So what, how do you keep them on track, you know? You gotta be a hands-on.

Matt: Yeah. Well, right. We need to… I mean, that’s the whole idea that we’re trusting them with little and seeing them be trustworthy and then we trust them with more. So yes, it does take parental supervision.

Jim: How do you start, um, to teach children about work and paying for things at that young age? I mean, y- have them do dishes? Give them 25 cents?

Matt: Absolutely.

Jim: Yeah?

Matt: So connect the money thing with a job well done. You know, allowances are really important. Allowances are a surprisingly contentious topic (laughs) within parents. Some parents never say that word ’cause have to earn everything they get and, and I get that. That’s fine. They say as adults, people aren’t just gonna give them things. The important thing with an allowance, whether you, whether the kid has to earn every dollar or whether we give them some spending money, they have to learn to manage that money well and it, it gives them the chance to manage money in a very practical way. But we have some friends, James and Amanda, in a small group. They have five kids. Their system is they have, they have three distinctions of jobs around the house. So they’ve got mandatory no-pay jobs, mandatory for-pay jobs, and optional for-pay jobs. And in those for-pay jobs, it could be that, that you typically get 50 cents to empty the dishwasher. That’s a mandatory for-pay job, but you do it with a bad attitude or you, I have to like ask you three times to do it? That could suddenly become a mandatory for less pay job or a mandatory for no pay job. And so that’s trying to connect-

Jim: Mm, I’m liking this.

Matt: (laughing) It’s connecting money to, to a diligent work ethic.

Jim: Yeah. That could get a little complicated.

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: You know, I do have a full-time job.

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: So I get home, I’m going, “Uh.” I mean we need a chart for all that.

Matt: I know. And so we have to find a system that works for us. I mean not every parent does the allowance thing the same way.

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: Some people do have charts. They have a chalkboard in the kitchen and they, they-

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: … keep track and that’s fine and good. They might be wired up a little bit more analytically. As long as we’re getting some money in our kids’ hands, we’re teaching them to be generous with the first portion. We’re teaching them to save with the next portion. We’re teaching them to make spending, then, the last priority.

Jim: I like that, though, because it does differentiate a little rou- tougher job should give a little more pay.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: And we recognize that so you, you… There’s equity in terms of a job well done.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, and pay that is commensurate.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: I might go up to a buck fifty on some things.

Matt: (laughing)

Jim: Raking leaves.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: I hate that job. (laughing) You can’t pay me enough to do that one. Um, e- e- let me ask you, um, one of the most important things as a believer that we need to keep in mind is the spirit of generosity.

Matt: Hmm.

Jim: I guess in some ways it’s hard to be generous if you have nothing.

Matt: Hmm.

Jim: Obviously. Um, I would think you could still have a spirit of generosity even if you don’t have a lot.

Matt: Mm.

Jim: My mom was like that. She was a waitress.

Matt: Mm.

Jim: And she gave money away like, uh, unbelievably, to help other people, to buy somebody dinner at the restaurant-

Matt: Mm.

Jim: … she worked at. Came out of her pocket and she was a very generous soul that way even though we didn’t have much to eat, ironically.

Matt: Mm.

Jim: Um, but speak to that development of the generous spirit and how money can either harm that or help that and, really, how the biblical perspective helps that.

Matt: Yeah, it’s so important to cultivate that early. You know, John Rockefeller, one of the wealthiest people that ever lived, he said, “I never would’ve been able to tithe on my first million dollars if I hadn’t tithed on my first salary which was $1.50 a week.”

Jim: Wow.

Matt: And so, you know, if you wake up one day and you’re 50 years old and you’re making $100,000 and, and then you start to learn s- what the Bible teaches about generosity, that we were made in God’s image and God is endlessly generous and so generosity is, is part of our design. It’s, it’s why the secular studies find that generous people are happier than people that are not generous.

Jim: Mm.

Matt: And so if we can foster that in our kids, that, that yes, we’re gonna do the 10, 10, 80 or as I prefer, 10, 40, um, uh, 50. You know, have then save a little bit more aggressively. Get them in the practice of doing that but connected to something real because while I was writing the book I had breakfast one morning with some 20-something young men, all raised in Christian homes, all, um, saw their parents tithing. None of them understood why. And so one of them even said it felt like they were sort of checking a box like on the to-do list and so really important for us to, yes, develop the practice, the expectation, but to teach why, that we’re giving thanks to God. You know, what did David say? “Who are, who am I and, and who are my people that we could give as generously as this?” We’re only giving back a portion of what you’ve given to us and so for kids to learn to see that everything we have is a gift from God to be managed for his purposes would be a good thing, and to cultivate gratitude, to consciously ask our kids as we pray with them in the evening, “What are you grateful for? What was good today? What-”

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: “How did God meet you today?”

Jim: And you saw this in your son with a friend of his, Aziz, right?

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: Tell me that story.

Matt: Yes, I love that story. So one of the things we’ve tried to do to make giving real, I mean, dropping money in the giving basket is a good thing, but it can feel kind of abstract for a kid. Where’s that money going?

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: Um, and so w- we’ve tried to make it real for our kids by sponsoring some kids f- and there’s some ministries where you can sponsor a, a needy kid in another-

Jim: Yep.

Matt: … part of the world. Um, we sponsored a young man named Aziz in Burkina Faso, so it was a geography lesson, too. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah, no kidding.

Matt: We had to find that on a map. Um, but one day, one, one year we gave him some extra money for his birthday and he sent us back a picture of what he did with that extra money. He bought rice and soap for his family.

Jim: Mm.

Matt: The first things that our kids would do with some extra money, right?

Jim: Yeah. Yeah, right.

Matt: (laughs) And so we were talking about Aziz one night over dinner and the next morning, Jonathan came into the kitchen and, um, I hit him as a good, loving father would do with a financial quiz. I said, “Jonathan-”

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: I said, “What, what are the three things you can do with money?” He said, “Um, you can, uh, spend it, you can save it, or you can give it to Aziz.”

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: And I thought, “That’s good.” I love that answer because he, he… Now generosity had a face. Now generosity was real for him.

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: And I loved him, helping him make that connection.

Jim: Yeah. Matt, this has been so good. I just appreciate what you’ve done in partnership with Focus, and, uh, man, I’m hoping people will get a copy of this. You can do that. Just get in touch with us here at Focus on the Family. Make a gift of any amount. If you can become a monthly sustainer and help families through Focus on the Family, be part of the solution, we’ll send you a copy of Matt’s book as our way of saying thank you. A one-time gift will do that as well. If you can’t afford it, we’ll get it to you because, uh, you really do need to understand the principles of finances. (laughs)

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And, uh, man. Just get in touch with us and we’ll get this into your hands to help your children become money wise.

John: Yeah, request the book and, uh, make a generous donation as you can. That title again, Trusted: Preparing Your Kids for a Lifetime of God-Honoring Money Management. It’s a terrific resource and, uh, we’re so glad to have it here at Focus to partner with Matt. Again, get your copy when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or stop by

Jim: Matt, again, thanks for being with us.

Matt: Thank you. Such a pleasure to meet both of you guys.

Jim: Mm.

Matt: And it’s so wonderful to partner with you.

Jim: Mm.

John: Well, plan to join us next time as we hear from Bob Lepine. He’ll be sharing some building blocks to have a stronger marriage.

Bob Lepine: If we can’t figure out what do we do when that happens, we’re always gonna have problems. But if we can figure out how to resolve conflict, then we can have a good marriage, and the key to that is to be generous forgivers-

Jim: Yeah.

Bob Lepine: … with one another.

Today's Guests

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Trusted: Preparing Your Kids for a Lifetime of God-Honoring Money Management

Receive the book Trusted and the audio download of the broadcast "God-Honoring Money Habits for Kids" for your donation of any amount!

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