Can you see the forest for the trees?

Shane Barkley's picture

As a young boy I broke a glass on a table because it was sitting behind a balloon that I punched! As my mother helped me clean up the mess, I told her that I didn’t know the glass was there; I didn’t mean to break it. She understood, but used that opportunity to discuss why it’s important to think about possible results before taking action. That was my first memorable lesson on the Biblical concept of foresight

Money provides many opportunities to talk about foresight with our children. Whenever a seven-year-old gets birthday money from Grandma, he wants to run down to the store and see what new toy he can buy. So his dad, applying foresight, might tell him, “You know, if you buy that today, it will take you longer to save up for that baseball glove you want.” Then, a week later, when Junior is no longer interested in the toy and he sees something else he wants, his dad will probably say something like, “You know, if you hadn’t bought that other toy with your birthday money, you’d have enough to get this.”

Later in the book, we’ll look at why it’s important to start giving children opportunities to make decisions with a little bit of money, so they can learn more lessons from experience. Some children learn more effectively from experiencing the consequences of bad choices. But still, we can try to teach our children to have foresight in this area.

The world is full of adults who haven’t learned foresight when it comes to money. They can’t think beyond the next big-ticket item that calls out to them—or else they don’t care what’s beyond it—so they don’t anticipate the debt they could get into or the other messes they may have to clean up because of poor spending decisions.

What better foresight could we have than to take to heart Jesus’ words about sending treasure on ahead to heaven? In Matthew 6, he said, “Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (19-21). We know heaven is our home and we are only in temporary dwellings. So, if we know what is going to happen, why don’t we live like we have this knowledge?

Foresight takes time to learn, so we have to keep at it—and this is especially true for our children. But I do believe it will help them make better decisions about earthly matters and heavenly ones. By thinking ahead, the chances greatly increase that our money decisions, and our children’s, will be more about glorifying God, less about the influence of advertising, and less about what kind of house, car, or clothing other people in the world believe we need to own.

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