Friday, May 9, 2008

Our Calling As Parents

There is an article in this month's issue of Focus on the Family Magazine that expresses very well something that I've been thinking a lot of lately. Here's my thought --- how do I, as a parent, help my children develop that joy in serving God with their life? I mean, really experiencing joy in serving God rather than just doing it. I think that is the ultimate thing that I can teach and impart to my kids, so how do I make sure that they get it?

Gary Thomas helped me to round up my thinking on this particular concept through his article entitled "Evangelism Begins At Home", so rather than typing out my own thoughts, I thought I'd share his entire article instead. Here it is:

Life In Focus: Evangelism Begins At Home
By Gary Thomas
(as printed in Focus On The Family magazine, May 2008 issue, page 30)

The deeply troubled boy proved too difficult for the disciples to handle. His father appealed directly to Jesus: "Can you help me?" Jesus replied, "Bring the boy to me" (Mark 9:19).

That is what we are called to do as parents: bring our children to Jesus.

If my goal is simply to raise "happy" children, I'll buy them whatever they want instead of teaching them to be responsible with money. If my goal is to have "successful" children, I will spare no expense helping them to rise above others --- they'll get the best coaching, the best equipment, maybe even the services of a sports psychologist.

But Christian parenting calls us to a much different purpose and motivation: raising servants of God. Malachi tells us that God's passion for marriage is rooted at least in part in our children's spiritual welfare: "Has not the Lord made them one?... And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring" (Malachi 2:15).

When I seek to raise children for God's glory, I'll be willing to face the difficult realities of training, encouraging, praying and the like, because I know there's no more important use of my time. Martin Luther wrote, "But the greatest good in married life, that which makes all suffering and labour worthwhile, is that God grants offspring and commands that they be brought up to worship and serve Him. In all the world this is the noblest and most precious work, because to God there can be nothing dearer than the salvation of souls."

What is the grand scheme behind your family? What will motivate you to train and instruct your children instead of ignoring something because you're too tired, too distracted or too fearful to address it? What greater end will fuel your efforts?

Some children will follow eagerly. Others will overwhelm us with their resistance. But our ultimate aim must be Jesus' command: "Bring the boy to me."

Lord, refine my motivations, purify my actions and energize my heart so that I do all that I can to help my children find their greatest joy in serving You.
I love how Gary Thomas phrased that prayer --- refine my motivations, purify my actions and energize my heart! AMEN! Good questions to be asking myself: What are my motivations? Are my actions pure? Is my heart energized?

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.”
--- Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV)

No comments:

Post a Comment