Education about financial matters and prosperity begin at different times in an educational setting and will vary with the types of setting-homeschool, private or public education. Financial education generally begins with the introduction of the value of currency in the early primary grades or at home and continues through high school or college, ending with an economics of another financial class or with the starting of a new career.
This financial education is meant to prepare them to handle their finances in a responsible way once they start having an income. However, the mistake I made and hope that you will be able to avoid is that I didn’t start with lessons on prosperity at or before the financial lessons. I took the financial stance as stated above to prepare them to handle their finances responsibly, such as to earn money, pay their bills and save for their future. While this is not necessarily bad or incorrect I wish that my first thought on teaching financial matters was to help them gain prosperity to the extent that they could and would be generous with their wealth whatever that wealth entails.
First Principle of Prosperity: First Fruits
Of course, in a public school this principle will not be mentioned or inferred and thus it falls to the responsibility of the parents. In a Christian homeschooling environment, this is certainly something I believe should be taught, not only in words but by action and example. The principle of the first fruits comes from the Bible. In Proverbs 3:9-10 it states, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with first fruits of all your produce; then will your barns be filled with grain, with new wine your vats will overflow.”
I am glad that unknowingly, as a Christian homeschooler I did not totally disregard or neglect this principle. Let’s put this in the perspective of education by asking a few questions. First, what is all of your produce in respect to education? What are the barns, wines, vats and first fruits of your child’s education? More importantly, how can we give the first fruits of “education” to God?
Educational Wealth and Produce
I believe our educational produce is what we hope to and do accomplish in an hour, a day, a year or throughout the journey of our homeschool educational experience. It is what is taught and what is learned. It is what is attempted along with the failures and the successes. It is both the wrong and the right answers to math, literature, science and English problems. It is the moral, ethical, and scholarly applications of education. Likewise our wealth is the wisdom and knowledge we gain. Wealth also encompasses how we use what we have learned from textbooks and from our teachers about morals and ethics.
Educational Barns, Wines and Vats
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Were you born in a barn?” or “Do you live in a barn?” This usually is used in reference to someone not shutting a door. However, in the context of education I hope that my children will keep their barn doors open (minds) so that their minds will be filled with grain (wisdom, knowledge) and that their vats (careers, options, hopes) will be overflowing with new wine (opportunities, growth, experiences, ideas).
The first fruits in education, in particular in the area of financial education, make a connection between knowing the value and uses of money and prosperity. By teaching money first, students may tend to lean towards the materialistic approach to things whereas if prosperity principles are taught first then students will hopefully lean more towards the giving and receiving of true wealth and prosperity.
Educational First Fruits
So how do we offer or bring our educational first fruits to God? God has presented you with the opportunity as a homeschooler or as an educator to teach your child. Before you teach, instruct, schedule or start your school day, begin with prayer. Bring to God your hopes, concerns, thoughts, joys and successes. Teach your child to pray before he or she begins a subject, a lesson or an assignment. Suggest that they offer to God to do their best, to ask for help in understanding and to bless their time in learning. I can honestly say that the days we started with prayer were and are our best school days.
In addition, conclude assignments, lessons and your day by praying with your children a prayer of thanks to God.
The concept and application of giving of the first fruits to God applies to so much more than just finances and the appropriate use of money. It is an attitude of humble offering before and upon receiving all of the blessings of God. This practice can and I believe should be applied in all areas of our lives.
Is this easy? No. Do I practice what I am preaching here? I try but I certainly don’t get it right every time and there is much room for improvement. Knowing the principles and applying them are two different things but I do know that I have been blessed when I tried it God’s way.
The New American Bible