We are bombarded with thousands of advertising messages every day. As we approach the holidays it seems everywhere we turn we’re being targeted. Radio, TV, billboards, newspapers, magazines, pop-up ads all deliver a relentless plea to spend more and more on what are often frivolous items marketed as necessities.
As adults, we hope we have the judgment and the insight to decode these messages and to realize that spending more will not make us happier. Hopefully, we’ve learned that buying the latest gadget or gizmo doesn’t make us any more fulfilled. But we aren’t always able to separate the hype from the reality.
The Bible reminds us that we should be content, satisfied with what we have. But that message is often lost when the slick pitchman tells me how much better my life will be if I purchase his latest doohickey. Plus, if I order now, I can get two for the price of one. Surely, that will lead to contentment.
True contentment comes to those who develop a healthy relationship with money and who trust in God’s instruction and promise, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5).
If adults struggle with contentment, how much more difficult is it for our youth? In a culture where you’re not really cool unless you have the latest thing, it’s hard to say, “No, I’m content with what I have.”
Teenagers develop a sense of contentment early by modeling what they see and by talking about how their faith and values can influence their spending and saving. Now is an excellent opportunity for youth leaders and Sunday school teachers to talk openly about faith and finances, contentment and acquisition.
One resource to help you lead that discussion is Money Matters for Youth: Integrating faith and finance, which was originally created by Everence and adapted for Canadian audiences by MFC. It is available free for download at www.mennofoundation.ca/mmfy.
I invite you to download a copy and look it over and start a conversation about contentment today. If we don’t talk about money, faith, and values with our children, who will?
Darren Pries-Klassen is the Executive Director of Mennonite Foundation of Canada. For more information on generosity, stewardship education and estate and charitable gift planning, contact your nearest MFC office or visit www.Mennofoundation.ca.