“I believe the church has been complicit in sort of getting sucked into this whole persuasive argument about the role of consumerism in our culture, and I really don’t think they have understood the impact of what that means for people’s souls and what it robs us of in terms of just our personal sense of being.” — Nathan Dungen
I don’t mean to harp on and on about “stewardship” as a spiritual discipline. I suppose the reason for my repetitive focus on it here on this site is that it’s a struggle for my family too. This is the area in which I’ve most felt God’s prodding and poking lately. And this is also the spot where hearing fresh ideas — a prophetic Christian voice — is so refreshing and appealing to my ears!
So when I listened to a podcast of Krista Tippet’s interview with Nathan Dungen it was like drinking a tall glass of icewater in a barren desert. Dungen is the founder of an organization called Share Save Spend and the basic principle he talked about on the show was that as parents we can introduce our children to money right off the bat with the simple concept of spending 1/3rd, saving 1/3rd (toward a goal they choose), and sharing 1/3rd (giving to church, to those in need, etc.).
And I think one of the keys here is that it’s not just about teaching one’s child good habits. It truly is a way of giving your child a powerful life long gift: the gift of generosity. Now read this right: I’m not talking about giving your child a generous/extravagant gift. I’m talking about giving them generosity itself — planting and nurturing the seed of generosity in your child’s heart. From the start, countering the consumeristic messages in our society shouting “You, you, you! Focus on yourself! Focus on your own needs and wants!” and instead training your child to become a person who’s focus is on caring for others, blessing others, sharing Christ in word and deed with others. Blessing your child by enabling him or her to become a generous person.
Stewardship of our possessions, our money, and our time also includes our caretaking of our fellow man — caring for those in need. Dungen is right: the consumerism in our society that seeps into our homes does rob us Christ followers of the well-being and contentment we are meant to find in Jesus. It does damage to our souls. It furthers our self-centeredness — it turns our eyes from the needs of others. It robs us from the joy of living with an open, outstretched hand.
I don’t have a witty ending for this entry. I guess I’m still processing this — thinking through what this means for me and my family. So for a good ending, read Dungen’s interview yourself by clicking here. (THE END)