November 27, 2021

Power, Money, and Jesus

How to teach your children the values of God’s kingdom in a culture of greed.

By Rachel Ashworth, Mid-America Union Conference Outlook

In our house, we talk a lot about money. We homeschool our three boys, and because neither of us parents had extensive knowledge of money management as young people, my husband and I try to teach our sons at every opportunity.

Our boys learn valuable lessons like “time is money” and “money doesn’t grow on trees.” We talk about how working for yourself is nicer than working for someone else, and yet there are many instances when it is better to work for someone else.

The whole thing is confusing and comes down to one thing: money is power.

Power gets you through doors. It gets you into offices. It gets you what you want and what you need.

When boys and girls alike daydream about being president someday, we must remind them that according to the world's values, power wins in politics.

Children, Politics, and the Church

And then there’s the church.

Think about discussing politics in the church. It is a touchy subject in the church and in the house. Among adults, you must wade carefully through your vocabulary to avoid offending someone. Among children, you want to be careful not to help them form your opinion about things instead of their own.

But sometimes, it is easy to point out the correlation between money, power, and politics in the church.

I recently read an excellent book about personal and corporate goal-setting. It was written by a world-renowned pastor and best-selling author. It was great, but it made something even more clear to me. Even ministers, churches, and organizations are more powerful with more money.

This pastor had amazing stories about revitalizing and ministering to urban areas. He had breathtaking accounts of testimonies and faith. Interspersed here and there, however, were visits with incredibly wealthy politicians and celebrities. Through reading his book, I realized it’s more evident than ever that money means power, even in the church — whether you’re in the state capitol or the mission field.

Jesus, Our Example

When teaching yourselves and your families about politics and power in the world and in the church, remember that Jesus operated apart from it all.

Read the Gospels together to help yourself and your children understand how Jesus experienced the world while not getting wrapped up in it.

Had Jesus lived today, He would be famous. He would be TikTok famous and Instagram famous. He’d be on the television and the news. He’d be eating with kings and politicians, running with the best … right?

Or would He?

In today’s world of anyone can be president and TikTok can pay for college, it can be hard to come down to earth. It is a thrill to get likes, make posts, see the views go up and up. Going viral can be like getting high. Chasing the high becomes chasing more views, producing more videos, creating more content.

Where does it end?

I think the best way to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground is to be more like Jesus.

Instead of reading self-help books and following the next big social media celeb, check out the Gospels.

The original version of this commentary was posted on the Mid-America Union Conference Outlook.