Be The Parent
Looking for something new to add to your family’s Christmas traditions? Checkout theshepherdstreasure.com. I found this resource last year while on church staff, and think it is a fun way to connect with your family during Advent.
“A person should think of us in this way: as servants of Christ and managers of the mysteries of God. In this regard, it is required that managers be found faithful.” ~ 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 CSB
How are you managing the gospel which you have received?
I must admit, I’ve heard verse 2 (above) many times before. It wasn’t until today, however, that I really read verse 1 and saw that the “thing” which we are to be faithful managers of is the gospel (the mysteries of God) mentioned in verse 1.
Now that question is burning deep in my heart: how faithful am I in managing the gospel in my life? In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul said “For I passed on to you as most important what I also received.” Am I being intentional in passing along that which I say I believe is most important?
As a husband?
As a dad?
As children’s minister?
As a Christian?
Psalm 96:2 says, “proclaim His salvation from day to day.” So what am I doing with the gospel? Am I allowing the truth of the gospel to permeate and rule every area of my life?
God has chosen the people of God, empowered by the Spirit of God and equipped with the Word of God, to be about the mission of God to make disciples (Matthew 28).
In The Gospel Project we studied Jesus’ Parable of the Sower. Ultimately Jesus alone holds the power of the gospel message. We, as His disciples, are responsible, though, to spread the seed of the gospel wherever we go. “Go and make disciples of all nations…” Jesus said, “…in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Matthew 28:19 & Acts 1:8) I must diligently and consistently apply the truth of Scripture to my life while simultaneously letting the gospel of Jesus overflow into my decisions, my speech, and my behavior as a husband, dad, and every other role I step into.
God, give me strength and wisdom to manage the gospel well by spreading the seeds of the gospel in all the “fields” of my life.
“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (CSB)
There is a lot packed into this passage. Let’s focus on a few key parts.
1. There is only one God. He alone is to worshiped.
2. God expects us to love Him with our entire being. He isn’t interested in simply getting a compartment of your life. . . even it’s the largest compartment. His desire is your entire life to be filtered through Him.
3. Older generations have a responsibility to train up younger generations. Yes, most directly, this falls to parents, but it doesn’t stop there (see Deuteronomy 4:9-10 and Titus 2:1-7). Each generation should seek to learn as much as possible from the previous generation and to invest as much as possible the generations that follow.
4. Once-a-week investment in younger generations will not suffice to pass the baton of faith. Part of older generations investment in the younger must include encouraging and equipping parents to lead their children in the faith.
God, grant me wisdom to learn from those who have gone before me and invest often in those that follow.
I recently heard this quote on ABC’s Last Man Standing. The episode is entitled “The Dad Hat” and originally aired on 11.5.2015.
The tough balance for any parent is providing a harness to keep our kids safe without taking away the victory of the climb.
~ Tim Allen, #LastManStanding
Anyone who has been a parent for any length of time will quickly relate to the truth in this statement. Most parents constantly engage in this internal battle between the desires for their child to succeed and to protect them from harm and failure.
I think of one of my nieces who is into indoor rock climbing. I don’t know a great deal about rock climbing, but one thing I’ve been told is that entry level rock climbing makes use of belay ropes for safety and support. These belay ropes allow a person to embrace the thrill of climbing to new heights but with the peace of mind that someone is holding the rope to keep you from falling. As long as you trust the person holding the rope, risk of danger is relatively small.
As parents this is what we want to do for our kids. We want our kids to try new things, climb, and succeed while we provide a safety net from failure that could cause them pain. I recently heard my wife say to one of our children:
There are 2 kinds of people in the world: those that fail & try harder and those that fail & quit.
(Of course there is, also, that third kind of person who is too afraid of failure to try at all.)
We cannot protect our kids from failure without shielding them from the invigorating joy of victory and ultimately preventing them from becoming the people they can and should be. Instead, we need to inspire our kids to work hard and not fear failure. How do we provide a safety net for our kids? I imagine that there are various ways this can be done in specific circumstances, but the primary way families should do this is by ensuring a safe place for their kids. This safe place means that we detach a child’s value from his performance. Each child must know, beyond any doubt, that he can try something new, and whether he succeeds or not, his family loves and will encourage him. We do our children great harm if we allow them to think that we believe they are failures. Even if the world turns on them, children need to know that failing does not make someone a failure, but quitting does. The old attage is true:
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
The Bible has much to say about avoiding idleness in the pursuit of hard work (Proverbs 14:23, Proverbs 18:9, Proverbs 21:25, and more), and we are often encouraged to do so under the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit. We are, also, charged with different priorities than others; we are commanded to “seek first the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33) and to “set our minds on things above.” (Colossians 3:2). We have these divine commands because God knows that the pursuit of His Kingdom provides hope, and that hope is the key to providing the right kind of safety net for our kids: grace. Ultimately, this hope is found in the grace of Jesus. In fact, the Bible makes this connection in Romans 5
Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.. (vv 1-5)
Be the Parent:
Be the parent who encourages and challenges your child to new heights. Let him climb. Teach him early that his value is not tied to success or to failure. As a parent, guard your own heart from attaching your child’s value (and your own for that matter) to his performance. Be the parent that models courage by holding the belay rope while your child is young but allowing him to try new things all while maintaining an atmosphere of grace and hope in your home. Preventing your child from experiencing failure will likely lead to fear of trying. Be the parent who inspires hard work, perseverance, and courage instead of laziness, apathy, and fear.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill*
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy*
* Final quotes taken from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2013/12/30/30-powerful-quotes-on-failure/