Relationships are More Important Than Money

In a culture driven by the dollar, relationships often fall to the bottom of the list of priorities: relationships don’t hand out salaries.

By James Robison Published on March 18, 2017

I had no dad to teach me from the beginning that loving money isn’t nearly as important as loving people and that giving is more important than taking.

I did discover these things while I was still a teenager, though, and it has brought great blessings to my life. I have been blessed in marriage for over fifty years now. Betty and I have three children and eleven grandchildren. But we decided when we were teenagers that every time we received a financial increase, we would give to God first.

Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10)

When Betty and I were married, I wasn’t farming like the Israelites who first heard the proverb above. But I worked for a paycheck, and every time we received an increase, we gave to God. It became a pattern we have followed since then: Get an increase, give to God.

We didn’t just give money. We gave our lives to people. As we shared what we had (time, energy, advice, and a little bit of money), we experienced life. We expressed life, and we touched others’ lives.

Allowing money to make decisions for your family is dangerous. With every “We can’t afford that,” parents reinforce the idea that money — not parents — makes decisions.

God says to us, “I’m going to fill up your life. I’m going to meet your needs.” And you and I are supposed to keep pouring out what God pours in. Every time there’s an increase, why not give to God first?

Taking care of Number One is so important in our culture, and sadly, children pick up on it. It’s even come to the point that when people think about doing something for others, sometimes, they actually have themselves in mind. You see, people who are focused only on their own needs will think about doing something right and good — but with the hidden motive of getting something in return.

Allowing money to make decisions for your family is dangerous. With every “We can’t afford that,” parents reinforce the idea that money — not parents — makes decisions. Rather than choosing what is right and trusting God to provide for their families, men subtly teach their children that money, not God, rules their homes.

There’s a word for this: selfishness. It is truly an unhappy and unfulfilling way to live.

1 Timothy 6:10 says, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” It doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil, but the love of money is a terrible problem. Selfishness disguised as love drives people to sacrifice other human lives on the altar of personal gain.

Of course, God is not opposed to money. Jesus talked about it often. But His message was: Don’t idolize it; don’t worship it; don’t let your heart go after it. That’s why God has given us the ability to test our hearts. In Luke 12:34, we’re told that where our treasure is, our hearts will be also.

Through it all, I hope you’re telling them by your words and your lifestyle: Relationships are more important than money.

You may say, “I don’t have any treasure.” Yes, you do. You have the treasure of your time. You have the treasure of your mind. You have talents and abilities. God has given to you something with which you can bless others.

All of these treasures will bless your children.

You are the one who will guide them as they grow, Dad. Starting at birth and progressing through childhood and into the teenage years, you help steer their courses. You take their hands and walk them through elementary school and recitals and ball games. You teach your teens about sexuality, self-awareness, and confidence. Then you prepare them for starting their own families and launching their own careers.

Through it all, I hope you’re telling them by your words and your lifestyle: Relationships are more important than money.

All three of Betty’s and my children were intelligent, capable, and successful as they grew up in our home. Yet in spite of all of their successes and their potential for great earnings, all of them, at one time or another, have said something quite profound and intensely satisfying to my soul: They have each told me they want to pass on what they had growing up. They want homes where love flows to everyone who lives there. They want God to be the center of their lives and relationships. And they want their children to know and love Jesus.

That’s what has been most important in their lives to this day. That’s what they set their sights on as adults. That’s what they all have — loving family relationships.

It’s beautiful! And I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know: They have no regrets.

Betty and I can say as parents there may be no greater thrill in life than seeing your children love their children and truly love one another — all because of God’s influence. We are seeing this, and it is beautiful to behold. We wish it for everyone.

As you seek to teach your children to have a proper perspective concerning money, I encourage you to pray continually:

Bless us as we learn submission, dear God.
Please help us to remember during this trying time,
That nothing we have refused to give away could
Ever really be ours — You, who promised:
Those who lose their lives for my sake will find them.

 
Excerpt from A Dad’s Blessing, Published by Thomas Nelson, 2005.

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