“The American Dream: The ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.”
As parents we tend to also attach the idea that our children will have a higher standard of living than we had.
This is not going to be a popular article because many will see it as Anti-American. At the core of being an American is the pursuit of financial freedom and independence. Too often, however, that pursuit is in direct contrast to what Jesus has called us to be, especially as fathers.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also….No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 5:19-20, 24
We read this passage and immediately start in with the “yeah but” statements. Yeah but we are also commanded to provide for our families. Yeah but it’s the LOVE of money, not money, that is the root of all evil. Yeah but we have all kinds of examples of rich godly men in the bible. I am not trying to argue against being successful in business or prospering financially, I am challenging my own priorities and focus in this life. What am I pursuing? Where is my heart? These questions can be hard to answer honestly because it is so easy to deceive myself in order to protect against having to make difficult decisions.
I believe that a simple way to evaluate my heart is too look at my children. What is my focus with my children? What are my goals and aspirations for them? The time I spend with my kids, what do we focus on? Education and school activities and soccer practice and band practice and baseball camp…are these the things that consume our time? God has put four children in my care so that I can teach them who He is, what He desires, and the importance of seeking a relationship with Him. As I look into the future, would I rather have my children better off financially than I am or better off spiritually? As I’ve grown older and as my kids are growing up, I see that their lives and priorities are a direct reflection of my heart.
So my advice is enjoy the band concerts and basketball games. Take pleasure in the academic accomplishments of your children. Prepare your kids for the realities of life in this world, but never at the expense of their eternal souls. First through your example and then through your training, teach them how to lay up treasures in heaven. Because that is God’s dream for all of us.