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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
September 9, 2012
Proverbs on the Family, Part 15: Principles of Parenting, Part 7
The scriptures are clear that parents are responsible for teaching their children about God and how to walk with Him according to His commands. Along the way in rearing them there will be many others that will assist them in increasing knowledge, learning skills, and cultivating godliness, but the responsibility still rests on the parents. As Deuteronomy 6:4-9 points out, in order to accomplish this you must first love the Lord God with all your heart, soul and might and then be diligent to talk about the Lord in all the daily activities of life. This lays the foundation for your children to be convicted by the Holy Spirit and place their faith in the Lord Jesus.
Over the last couple of months I have pointed out some of the specific areas of responsibility God has placed upon us and which parents are to teach their children. Fulfill your role in marriage. All of us are to honor our parents. Children are obey their parents.. There are responsibilities toward sibling, so teach your children to be friends with one another. Instill into them a love for helping and encouraging one another instead of competing against each other and becoming rivals.
There are responsibilities toward extended family and society too. Respect and honor the aged. Help extended family when needed. Give respect and honor to proper authorities according to their office. Be humble and treat all peers with courtesy and those of the opposite sex as a brother or sister in all purity. Help those in need when you have the means to do so. Teach these things to your children. (See:(See: Proverbs on the Family, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14,)
Last week we began to examine what you are to teach your children regarding property, both their own and that of others.
Property & Value
Property is that which a person owns or to which they have a right. This includes not only physical objects, but also things such as time and reputation. The market value of property is what a similar item would sell for in the marketplace. However, the actual value of property is determined by the owner and is signified by what they are willing to trade for it, and that may be above or below market value. Sentimental value or the lack of it can make property priceless or worthless to its owner. There is an intangible side even to tangible possessions.
There is also a direct relationship between labor and value. If you make something yourself, it is usually valued more than something similar that was manufactured because of the labor you put into it. It is this factor of time and labor that makes monetary value more important to the poor than to the wealthy. $5,000 is a lot to someone that makes $20,000 per year, but not too much to someone that makes $120,000.
People tend to think that they have the right to do anything they want with what they own or have right of possession. That is true if you actually owned your possessions and your use of them does not affect others. However, as I explained last week, the more your property has some affect on others, the more those people will have to be considered in what you do with your property and that includes your own body. For example, you can’t play your stereo loudly if it is disturbing other people, and if you damage your ears in doing so, you will make it difficult for others to talk with you.
There is also the fact that you don’t actually own anything. Everything you have is just being borrowed for the few fleeting years of your life on this earth and then it will all go to someone else (Ecclesiastes 2:18-19). More important, ultimately it is God that owns everything (Psalm 24:1). We are simply stewards of what He has entrusted to us. Stewards have responsibilities, not rights (1 Corinthians 4:2). You will have to give an account to God for how you used what He entrusted to you.
Teaching Your Children About Property
The two main ways in which you will teach your children about their responsibility to property is your example and what you require of them. Your example is obvious and your children will naturally learn to treat property the same way that you do. This includes not only your actions but your attitude toward property as well. Give thanks with a grateful heart for every good thing you receive because it is from God (James 1:17). Gratefulness is a key component of worship with the words thanks and thanksgiving occurring 61 times in the Psalms alone. We are to find ways to give thanks to God in everything including in the midst of turmoil. It is part of the sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15).
Also, be content whether you have a lot or a little (Philippians 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:6-8). Proverbs 25:16 has an interesting statement about contentment, “Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it.” You need to be able to assess what you actually need and be satisfied with that and teach your children to do likewise. A lack of contentment leads to gluttony with the very resources God has provided to you to share with those in need. Gratefulness and contentment will have a direct impact on the manner in which you treat your possessions. You are more careful with things for which you are thankful and less careful with things you do not like.
Your example is important, but it will not be enough alone. Since foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child (Proverbs 22:15), you must also instruct them on the proper care of property and then require it of them. Do not allow them to abuse property. If it is their own, they need to learn early that proper use and care of property is the only means by which they can gain the benefits from it. Abusing a toy may seem inconsequential, but it sets the pattern for how they will continue to treat things as they grow up. You want to instill in them the opposite traits. There are several Proverbs that tie wealth to care for personal property. While they focus on animals and plants, the m
ajor source of wealth in the ancient world, the same principles can be applied to other forms of property.
Proverbs 12:10, “A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.” How you treat your animals is a reflection on your character. Proverbs 27:23-27, “Know well the condition of your flocks, And pay attention to your herds; For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the grass disappears, the new growth is seen, And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, The lambs will be for your clothing, And the goats will bring the price of a field, And there will be goats’ milk enough for your food, For the food of your household, And sustenance for your maidens.” In this passage, the proper care of his property is directly related to his wealth. Proverbs 28:19 makes the same point “He who tills his land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.”
Proverbs 27:18, “He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit, And he who cares for his master will be honored.” This is pragmatic, but your property cannot be useful to you if you do not care for it properly.
Treating the property of others properly is even more important for that is part of showing respect for the owner. Jesus said that loving your neighbor is the second great commandment (Matthew 22:39). Treating the property of others properly is a practical demonstration of that love, and since Jesus also stated in Matthew 5:44 that we are to even love our enemies, then you need to treat them and their property properly even if you don’t like them.
You must instruct your children how to properly care for things, and if they then do not, then make sure there are consequences. It may be the natural consequences of loss when they break or lose something of their own. It could also be the less serious artificial consequences in losing the privilege of using the property for a time. When you see them mistreating something, including other people, then correct them and warn them they are in danger of losing the privilege of using it or being with the other people. If they do not heed the warning, then remove the item or them from the situation. When they can show themselves to be responsible again in the future, they can regain the privilege. The consequence could also be a rebuke and chastisement. Do not fall into the trap of feeling sorry for them and ignore what they do or remove the pain of the consequences.
If they break or lose something that must be replaced, include them to the extent of their ability in helping to replace it. You may have to find extra chores for them to do so that they can earn the funds to replace it. If it is something expensive, then you may have to cover the cost initially, but still have them work to help pay for it even if it is not the whole amount. This will also teach them the relationship of labor and value. Have them purchase the item and personally give the replacement item to the owner along with an apology for breaking or losing it. This teaches them to be humble and to value the owner and not just the property. If it is someone else’s property, they may replace it with property of their own if that is acceptable to the owner.
This is the principle of restitution which is detailed in Exodus and Leviticus. If it was accidental, then only the value of the item is required (Exodus 21:34; 22:5-15). If it was done on purpose, then there are additional penalties. If he lied about it, an extra 20% was to be added to the value (Lev. 6:5). If it was stolen, then the thief had to pay back between 4 to 7 times the amount (Exodus 22:1; Proverbs 6:30-31). The penalties in the restitution laws show that there is something more important than just the market value of the item. Lying and theft are sins against God and against the owner of the items.
Instructing your children in proper manners is another way to teach them the practical application of godliness. Even simple things such as requiring them to say please and thank you instill in them humility and proper respect for other people and their property. Apologies, seeking forgiveness and reconciliation carry this to a deeper level.
Requiring your children to share most things trains them in the use of property in being considerate and generous to other people. Proverbs 11:25, “The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 28:27, “He who gives to the poor will never want, But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.” Ephesians 4:28 instructs Christians to “steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.” If you teach your children this from an early age it will become part of their character.
You will also be able to teach them about responsibility for property from the negative side of sharing. The reality is that other kids will not always treat properly the property that is being shared with them. The hurt and frustration that they will feel when their toy is damaged or destroyed accidentally can be an opportunity. You may have to help them deal with their desire for revenge, but then go on to use it to teach them why it is so important for them to treat the property of other people in a proper manner. Have them memorize Matthew 7:12, the “Golden Rule,” so that it will be at the forefront of their mind to treat others the way they would like to be treated and not the way they have been treated. Let me quickly add here that you will have to intervene with children that are being abusive to what is shared with them. You will have to rebuke them and may have to restrict what your kids share with them. Your goal is to teach your children and about sharing and treating property properly, not to make them targets for abusive people. Make sure the parents of such children are told the problems you were having with them so that they can make the proper corrections to their child. If such parents get mad at you for telling them such negative things about their child, then you will know this is not a family you want to have as close friends. Their pride has made them foolish.
At the same time you are requiring them to share most things, also allow even your young children to have a few special things they do not have to share. As they get older, there will be more things to which they have exclusive rights. This will give you the opportunity to teach them ownership while also giving you some insight into their heart. If they volunteer to share those items too, then you are reaching their heart in teaching them generosity. They will also learn discernment about who can be trusted with their precious possessions and who cannot. Again, being generous and sharing does not mean allowing others to abuse your property. That would actually be poor stewardship on your part.
In teaching your children about property, you also need to teach them about wealth. We live in a materialistic and hedonistic society, so this is extremely important. I have already talked about giving thanks and being content which deal with a proper response to the possessions you already have. You also have to teach them about the right attitude toward acquiring material possessions.
People no longer do business on a handshake there has been such moral decay in ethics. We now try to hold people responsible with long contracts and teams of lawyers. Lying, cheating, stealing, graft and corruption are common going up into the highest levels of business and government with its crony capitalism, or in view of the recent take overs of major portions of the auto industry, banking industry, and health industry, it would more accurately be termed crony fascism or communism. You and your family will need the fortitude to stand alone on God’s moral high ground even if everyone else is wading around in the unethical swamp surrounding
you. I will talk about this more in the future when we get to the subject of Proverbs on Economics, but for today I just want you to understand that we are to be honest and just in all our business dealings. Proverbs 11:1, “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.” Proverbs 10:2-4,”Ill-gotten gains do not profit, But righteousness delivers from death. The Lord will not allow the righteous to hunger, But He will reject the craving of the wicked. Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.”
Now someone may say that there are plenty of unethical people that are very wealthy. True. Asaph saw the same thing and wrote about it in Psalm 73. While they may gain riches for themselves in this life by their wickedness, the final accounting will not be made until they stand before God. Psalm 73:27, “For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.”
Proverbs gives five sources of wealth for the righteous. First is honoring the Lord. Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine.” Second is humility. Proverbs 22:4, “The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches, honor and life.” Third is righteousness. Proverbs 15:6, “Great wealth is in the house of the righteous, But trouble is in the income of the wicked.” Fourth is wisdom. Proverbs 3:13-15, “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver And her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her.” Fifth is hard work. Proverbs 13:11, “Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, But the one who gathers by labor increases it.” Stealing, graft, corruption, and unethical business practices are the opposite of all these things. They dishonor God, show a lack of trust in Him, arise out of pride, follow the world’s foolishness and shun hard work.
Proverbs also lists out quite a few things that are better than wealth. Wisdom – Proverbs 16:16, “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.” Righteousness – Proverbs 16:8, “Better is a little with righteousness Than great income with injustice.” Integrity – Proverbs 28:6, “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than he who is crooked though he be rich.” Reputation – Proverbs 22:1, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.”
We are to be responsible with both our own possessions and those of others because ultimately it all belongs to God and will have to give an account to Him of our stewardship. We also have to have the same attitude when it comes to our time, reputation and character.
Time. Time is the most precious commodity of life for it is the most restricted. You may be able to acquire more wealth, but you cannot acquire more time. Time is the only thing in which all people are equal for it is allotted out to all men at exactly the same pace. The difference between men is how they will use that time. The wise will use their time responsibly while the foolish will squander it.
We use financial terms such as spend, save and even invest for time, but actually we can only use time as it comes. You cannot store it in a bank for usage later on. Usually when we talk about saving time we are actually referring to becoming more efficient to accomplish the same amount in less time so that you can then use time in the future to do something else you would not have otherwise had time to do. You might invest time now in learning to do things more efficiently so you will not have to spend as much time on those things in the future. But even with all that, you either use time wisely or foolishly. You are either responsible or irresponsible in your use of time.
The Bible has a lot to say about the use of time. Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 explains that there is an appointed time for everything and that God has made everything appropriate in its time. Part of wisdom is discerning the appropriate use of time. Ephesians 5:16 directs us to redeem or make the most of the time, because the days are evil. We are responsible to take advantage of the opportunities that God makes available to us.
Responsible use of time is seen in the contrast between its wise use by the diligent and its foolish use by the lazy. The hand of the diligent makes rich and will rule while that of the negligent will be poor and be put to forced labor (Proverbs 10:4; 12:24). The soul of the diligent is made fat while that of the sluggard craves and gets nothing (Proverbs 13:4). The way of a lazy man is as a hedge of thorns, referring to constant obstacles, while the path of the upright is a highway (Proverbs 15:19). The sluggard always has an excuse for not doing his work (Proverbs 22:13) while the diligent overcome the obstacles and the progresses. The lazy man values his naps over his work and so “a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:9-11). This does not imply that the diligent do not sleep and rest, for as I pointed out in a previous sermon, even the Lord needed those things. (See: Labor and Leisure) It does mean that they will use their time wisely and not squander it foolishly.
You do not teach your children to be wise in the use of time by watching the clock and rigid scheduling. You teach them to be responsible in their use of time by teaching them the priorities of life and how to keep them in proper order. Scheduling would not be of any help unless it was assisting you to keep the priorities.
Be careful of those things and people that can use up your time foolishly and do not be someone that does that to others. I have learned quite a bit about this in my years as a pastor. While I value people stopping by and social phone calls, those must be balanced with the priorities God has placed on me as a pastor and those things that are important to me and my family. Here are some things that help me keep my priorities. I screen my phone calls. I strive to communicate by the means most efficient for me to accomplish my purpose. I sort my mail and email into categories of trash, should look at and must look at before reading any of it. As long as the priority items are fulfilled, I no longer feel bad about having piles of materials and bulging email folders of things I would like to do but are not necessary to do. I also no longer feel bad about having a messy office because of this. I have a cross stitch in my office of Proverbs 14:4, “Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much increase comes by the strength of the ox.” I haven’t read yet of their being a reward in heaven for having a clean office when you leave earth.
Be careful of those things that might end up wasting your time. They might even be things that are otherwise fine to do, but they keep you from fulfilling God’s priorities in your life and your priorities in what you would like to accomplish. Remember that Hebrews 13:1 tells us to lay aside “every encumbrance” as well as “the sin which so easily entangles us” in order to run the race that is set before us. Be responsible in the use of your time and teach that to your children by setting the proper priorities and then learning to keep them. As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, most people in this society have great amounts of leisure time. Use that time wisely. You need leisure in order to be physically rested and mentally refreshed, but leisure is also opportunity to improve your walk with Christ, not license to
do things that are detrimental to your spiritual health.
Reputation is an intangible property for which we are also responsible. When you search out wisdom and follow her you will find favor and be of good reputation before God and man (Proverbs 3:4). Proverbs 22:1 states, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.” Ecclesiastes 7:1 states that “A good name is better than a good ointment.” These verses express the great value of having a good reputation. It is a mark of maturity which is why it is one of the qualifications for an elder (1 Timothy 3:7).
A good reputation is something that is earned, not given. A good reputation is built on integrity and consistency in your own actions. That is why it took time for even Jesus to grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52). His fame and reputation spread over the course of His public ministry. Even He did not get His reputation automatically. A good reputation is earned over time and maintained with diligence. Yet, it can be lost very quickly with just a slip, an indiscretion, a moment of weakness. There are plenty of men that started well and may have done well for many years, but they ended badly because of some failure which changed their reputation.
The name Benedict Arnold is a synonym for traitor in the United States. So much so that few people know he was the hero in the critical Battle of Saratoga that secured the mid-Hudson region for the Americans. There are plenty of politicians that have spent decades earning a good reputation only to lose it in the end from some failure. Even more tragic are pastors that have done the same by a sinful choice that shamed them and the Savior. Set your goal to be someone who will end well regardless of how you started. Isn’t that the hope of the gospel? We start as sinners but can end as saints. Paul started as a persecutor of the church, but ended by fighting the good fight, finishing the course and keeping the faith to the end (2 Timothy 4:7). God is in the business of transforming lives. Teach your children to be diligent in their walk with the Lord so that they will end well.
Maintaining a good reputation also requires diligence and consistency because the righteous will be attacked by the unrighteous, and according to Philippians 1, also by those who are supposed to be righteous. We should expect to be reviled, persecuted and slandered because we follow Christ and strive to walk in righteousness (Matthew 5:10-12). The natural human response would be defensive and seek revenge, but we are to prove our reputation true by doing what is right anyway (1 Peter 2:15). We are to put our enemies to shame by proving ourselves beyond reproach by our good deeds, purity of doctrine, dignity and sound speech (Titus 2:7,8). Those are not easy lessons to learn and put into practice, but they are the locks that keeps others from stealing your good name by their slander. Teach your children these things early so that they will be able to remain faithful and withstand the persecution that will come upon them for doing what is right.
Teach them to value their own reputation and that of others. Teach them to refrain from slandering others and joining in the gossip circles including those that exist in churches. A slanderer is a fool who reveals secrets and so causes strife in friendships (Proverbs 10:18; 16:28; 20:19). The godly man will not slander with his tongue, do evil to his neighbor or take up a reproach against his friend (Psalm 15:3). Teach them to instead be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving in spirit seeking to build others up by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4).
All of these are responsibilities we need to fulfill in our own lives and instill into our children. These are goals of high priority. By God’s grace to us and our children those goals can be accomplished. By the Lord’s grace and mercy we are also forgiven when we fail and then prompted to carry on to become more like Christ and teach others to do the same.
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how man times “property” is mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about your responsibility to your property and that of others.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. How are you doing at fulfilling your responsibilities to your spouse? Parents? Children? Siblings? Extended family? Society? Government? What determines the value of something? What is the relationship between labor & time and value? What does it mean to be a steward? How does your example teach your children about the care of property? What do gratitude and contentment teach about caring for property? Which is more important: the property or the owner? Explain. What are the possible consequences when your child abuses property? What is restitution and why is it important your children practice it? Why is it important to teach your children to share? Why should they have some things they do not have to share? Contrast a proper attitude toward wealth with an ungodly one. According to Proverbs, what are the sources of wealth? According to Proverbs, what things are better than wealth? Why is time the most precious commodity of life? Time can only be used wisely or foolishly. What factors determine the difference? How do you practically teach your children to use time wisely? How can you use your time more wisely? How to you gain a reputation? What is the value of your reputation? What must be done to maintain a good reputation? Why is it important to end well? (2 Tim. 4:7)
Sermon Notes – 9/16/2012
Principles of Parenting, Part 7
Introduction & Review
______________ are responsible for teaching their children – anyone else can only assist
God has placed responsibilities upon us which we are to fulfill and teach our ____________
Property & Value
Property is that which a person __________ or to which they have a right – tangible and intangible
Marketplace value may or may not reflect the value to the ______________
____________ and time are directly related to the value of something to its owner
When your property or its use affects _________people, consideration must be given to those people
You don’t actually “own” anything, it all belongs to God to whom you are accountable as His ________
Teaching Your Children About Property
Your ____________- actions & attitudes – is a primary teacher to your children on how to treat property
Be ___________ with what God has entrusted to you whether little or a lot – Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:6-8
Discontentment leads to ______________ with the resources that should be shared (Prov. 25:16)
Because foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, you must also diligently _________your children
Wealth and care for personal property are ____________ – Proverbs 12:10; 27:18, 23-27; 28:19
nbsp; How you treat property directly reflects your _________for its owner – we are to love – Matt. 22:39; 5:44
Your child must experience the ____________if they do not treat property properly – natural or artificial
What is damaged, broken or lost must be ___________(the child handling it to the extent of their ability)
Teaching proper _____________also teaches humility and respect for other people and their property
When others abuse their property, teach them the “Golden Rule” (Matt. 7:12) instead of ___________
_____________ to protect them from children that do not behave or treat property properly
Special things they do not have to share gives insight into their hearts & teaches _______________
Teach your children the right ______________ about acquiring material possessions
They are to be ____________ and just in all their business regardless of others (Prov. 10:2-4; 11:1)
Some of the wicked may proper materially in this life, but full accounting occurs at God’s _____- Ps. 73
Better than wealth: Wisdom (Prov. 16:16), Righteousness (16:8), ___________(28:6), Reputation (22:1)
Time – is the most precious commodity of life for it is the most ________________
The wise will use their time responsibly while the foolish will ______________ it
You are either responsible or irresponsible in your use of time
God has made everything __________________ for its time – Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
We are to make the most of the ______________________ God makes available to us – Eph. 5:16
The ___________ between the diligent and the negligent is a case study in wise and foolish use of time
Prov. 10:4; 12:24; 13:4; 15:19; 22:13; 6:9-11
Responsible usage of time is taught by teaching the proper ____________ of life and how to keep them
Be careful of things that use up your time _______________
Things that may be otherwise fine to do can still keep you from fulfilling God’s priorities – __________
By seeking ___________ you can find favor and good reputation before God and men – Prov. 3:4
A good name is more valuable than __________ – Proverbs 22:1
A good reputation is a mark of ____________ and so is a requirement for Elders – 1 Timothy 3:7
A good reputation is ____________, not given. It is built on integrity and consistency
A good reputation can take years to build and yet be _____in a moment by a slip, a moment of weakness
Set your goal that you start as a sinner you will end as a faithful __________ as did Paul (2 Tim. 4:7)
Maintain your reputation by doing what is ___________ even when attacked (Matt. 5:10-12; 1 Pet. 2:15)
By God’s ____________these responsibilities can be fulfilled, and we can be forgiven for our failures.
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