On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 96: Children and the Stewardship Life II

“…for all of you are children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27 NKJV)

It is an unfortunate situation that most people find themselves completely satisfied with enough to eat and drink, to wear, and to be entertained. Thus such people find that they must indulge in this pleasure and that, and accustom themselves to living up to (and often beyond) their income. The Christian steward, who sees all he or she has as a loan from God to be repaid, also sees that God has a higher goal for us than simple self-satisfaction.

Our children are very good watchers and listeners. They learn much more about how they will live in the future on their own from observing their parents than from a book or lecture. It is the duty of all Christians to properly use our time and money. Constantly indulging our children in their requests may be a reflection of constantly indulging ourselves in whatever pleasure we want. Children see that. Laziness or lack of discipline in an adult life is quickly picked up on by the children. A “take it or leave it” attitude about life in the Church or the Church’s traditions and services becomes the child’s way in the future. The opposite can be true as well.

 When I was twelve, I got the right to “own” my own paper route. The “route” was delivering 150 free shopping newspapers that ranged from 14 to 26 pages in size two times a week. The papers were delivered to our home in bundles on Tuesday and Friday for Wednesday and Saturday delivery. The papers were to be “folded” in the old-fashioned way, one at a time, placed into a cloth bag, and carried (or pulled on a wagon) to be delivered to 150 homes in the neighborhood. This was a total of 3-4 hours of work for each delivery, depending on size of paper, weather, etc. The supervisor, however, was always driving around checking on the deliveries. The pay? One dollar per delivery – two dollars per week.

For a twelve-year-old in the 1960s this was a lot of money. What was I to do with it? Now that I was “employed,” my father said, I had to take my own offering to Sunday School. He used to give me a dime each Sunday. My contribution, he said, had to be at least 20 cents a week. I learned to take a quarter from “my” money.

In Sunday School I learned about putting on Christ, who gave Himself for the life of the world. I learned discipline from my father and my mother. I also learned stewardship.

This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

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