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I am sure that many in our listening audience are familiar with the writings of C.S. Lewis.  One of his popular and timeless writings is called “The Screwtape Letters.”  Here is a brief synopsis of this book by

Written in defense of Christian faith, this popular satire consists of a series of 31 letters in which Screwtape, an experienced devil, instructs his young charge, Wormwood, on effective strategies for tempting the human being assigned to him and making sure he continues on a steady path toward damnation.

In today’s episode we will be looking at avoiding entitlement in our family and finances. But to open up our episode, we thought we would do a little “Screwtape Letter”  related to our theme: How can you ruin your children with regards to their relationship to money? (from Satan’s perspective)


“Screwtape Letter” 

  • Parents: be uptight about money…all the time! 
  • Parents: when your child asks for something, don’t just say “no” but go the extra mile and guilt trip them by saying something like, ”do you think money grows on trees”?
  • Parents: do a good service to the world’s economy and sit your children in front of television/internet for obscene numbers of hours each day.  Just think through all the advertisements that will be slammed into their heads and the increase of things that they think that they “need” will drive them to   watching advertisements
  • Parents: give your children anything they want, any time they want. Huge caches of Christmas/birthday presents
  • Parents: Do not require your children to work and earn money for what they want
  • Parents: Do not teach your kids about money with an allowance


There are four main words that we can take hold of in order to avoid entitlement in our families and finances.


1. Dependence

The first, and likely most important point in this episode, is that parents need to have a solid dependence on God.

Our Role: Shepherding the hearts of our children.

  • We cannot make our children love God rather than money!
  • We are called by God to do a job that we are incapable of doing on our own, and that is to build Christlike character in the hearts of our children!
  • In doing this, we need God to step in and lead/guide us as we lead/guide our child’s heart toward Him and His Word
  • A VERY good resource that a Christian parent could tap into for some guidance is a book called “Shepherding A Child’s Heart” 
  • We are not going to get into the nuances of the what and how to do that, for that is what this book can tackle instead…
  • YET…because we are very limited with our ability to do this…as we mentioned moments ago, we need God to step in…and that leads us into the second aspect of our dependence on God…and that is…

God’s Role:  To build the house

  • Psalm 127:1 – “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” We are absolutely dependent on God. We must live every day in that dependency…and pray in that accord!
  • When we do this, there will be an end result…and that is freedom from feeling like we need to manipulate our children into compliance/obedience.
  • What is more important than having our children raised as godly stewards is to have them raised as godly people. Don’t miss the heart of your child or you’ll miss the point of parenting.
  • Prov. 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” We get one time to train the heart and mind of our child/children.  If we are too busy with other things, especially work, then we will be relinquishing the training of our children to others.


2. Model

  • Stewardship (like many other things) is caught, not only taught.
    • Prov. 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Part of the training is our “modeling.” It is often the non-verbal training, the “modeling” that fills in the gaps for the child/student.  Modeling is letting our kids and those around us SEE what we are doing, living and the decisions that we are making!  
  • Things that our children should hear us say.
    • “Not now” 
    • “Do I really need that?”
    • “Is it really worth it?”
    • “Yes. I would love to… [take you out for a special occasion/spend time with you/etc.]”
  • Things that our children should see us do.
    • Balance budget
    • Pay with cash
    • Give to Church
    • Give to those in need
    • Volunteer
    • Pray for God to meet our needs
    • Give thanks for all of God’s blessings
    • Admit mistakes/failures
    • Forego a purchase/Count the cost (negative: forego; positive: count the cost – process whether or not something should be purchased at this time)


3. Instruct

  • Teach them financial wisdom
    • Here are some of the “instructions” that ought to be passed on to our kids!
      • Magic of compound interest
      • Save for the future
      • Avoid get-rich-quick schemes (not all that glitters is gold)
      • Interest – if you don’t earn it, you’ll pay it
  • Teach them a Biblical view of Success (Wisdom, not wealth)
    • World’s view of success – lots of money, big house, etc.
    • Christian’s view – your relationship with God is the measure of your life. If you have God and nothing else, you are richer than the richest person in hell. If you don’t have a real relationship with God, your view of money, finances, and stewardship will be skewed.
  • The value of hard work & the value of the dollar
    • Help them understand that a dollar takes hard work to earn, and that it can be spent with ease. I like to equate money with, “how many hours did it take to earn what I’m about to spend?” Is it worth it?
  • The value of delayed gratification
    • Trust God and wait for Him to provide. Pray for the things that they want. (we have not because we do not ask, and when we ask, we ask wrongly, James 4)
  • Teach them that they are stewards, not owners
    • “For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.” (Psalm 50:10–11, ESV)
  • Teach them about the brevity of life and the length of eternity
    • “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, ESV)


4. Experience

  • Surprise Generosity – serving/giving 
    • This is good for children of all ages…younger ones and into the teen years!
  • Give them an allowance
    • Give a portion of your income to your child for them to manage for their personal needs and wants
    • Let them make mistakes – and let them deal with the consequences of their mistakes (no bailing out)
  • Accountability
    • If they do not learn this at home, where will they learn it?  From a credit card company breathing down their neck?


Stewardship Application

I want to keep this closing simple. One of the best defenses (and offenses) in keeping our children from living a life of entitlement is this: Prov. 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

How are you actively training your children? How are you modeling stewardship to your children? What stewardship experiences are you putting before your children? And finally, are they seeing and hearing from you that you are dependent on God?


Next Steps


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