Should You Use Allowance as an Incentive?

The end of summer is almost here. Summertime is always a season where I feel grace.  I get to enjoy less traffic, longer days, milder weather, fewer commitments, and more family time.

My conviction is that God has designed everything in creation to reflect the Truth of His character and His love toward us.  The seasons remind us that there are spiritual seasons of growth, renewal, loss, and dormancy.  Nature manifests God’s amazing, intimate creativity as well as His splendor and majesty.  Husband and wife relationships are designed to reflect the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church. And, the parent / child relationship is no different.  As we parent, God reveals to us a deeper understanding of His paternal love for us.

You might be asking, where is he going with all of this?  What do God in nature and Christ’s love for the Church have to do with my kids earning their allowance?

Everything!  God does not ask us to “earn” our allowance, either.  He entrusts certain resources to us based on His grace and provision, not based on our merit or good behavior.  We are called to steward His resources just as we train our own children to steward theirs through a budgeting process like the envelope system.  His gracious provision is not dependent on our efforts just as, I believe, our provision in our children’s lives is best when it is not earned, either.

On the other hand, we are members of God’s family when we trust Christ for salvation.  With family membership comes a certain level of responsibility.  We bear His name, so we are called to honor Him through our obedience and faithfulness.  In the same way, our children bear our family name and we expect them to honor our family by participating in its maintenance and doing their best.  Doing your best in school and participating in chores around the house are a part of being in a family.  Some children don’t apply themselves or willingly participate in chores, and there are consequences for those choices (some natural and some imposed by us, as parents.)  In the same way, when we are disobedient or dishonoring to our Heavenly Father, we bear consequences.

I am so grateful to God that I do not have to earn His grace.  I am also so thankful to Him that, as a member of His family, I have an opportunity to grow into His likeness by depending on Him and being obedient to His calling in my life.  As you work with your children to train them about wise money management, know that you are planting seeds of belief into their hearts.  As they know their earthly parents’ love, they will also be able to experience their Heavenly Father’s love more completely.  I pray that you are inspired by the grace of summertime and by the awesome gift of parenting!