In my last post I asked the question, “Why do we do the things we do?” I asked the question with the hope that together we would all take time to think seriously about the big picture of parenting and then translate those large goals into detailed actionable decisions and plans. It is an important first step to have broad goals and general guiding principles, but it is also important to thoughtfully apply those principles consistently over time in each small decision. I am convinced that training children is a process of walking a path of a million little hard decisions made by the grace of God littered by failure and frustration. Never-the-less, we must make those million decisions in order to move forward.
Several years ago, one my pastors preached on the text Luke 14:25-35 in which Christ made some hard statements regarding following Him. It is certain that in one sense there is no cost to our salvation but in another sense there is great cost. Jesus requires ALL of our person, our whole life, devotion, and highest allegiance. The reason I mention it is that the sermon concluded with some poignant challenges. Jesus said we must pick up our cross and follow Him; and so, we must decide if we will have Him on those terms. Will we really make the decision to die to ourselves and make Him our highest end? Here’s the harder question, do we want this for our children? Do we want for our children to bear the cross of Christ? Do we want our children to live for Christ just so that they can be “saved” or do we want total surrender to the Lord of heaven? I have often thought that it would be great if some of our students became missionaries; but, how would I feel if they became missionaries like Jim Elliot or Nate Saint? Will we be satisfied with anything short of full devotion to Christ by our kids? I am reminded of a line from a song I first heard in the 80’s, “Well I pledge my son to heaven for the gospel. Though he’s kicked and beaten, ridiculed and scorned. I will teach him to rejoice, and lift a thankful praising voice, And to be like Him who bore the nails and crown of thorns.” (I Pledge My Head to Heaven, from Keith Green’s 1980 album So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt… ) The pastor made a passing reference to Psalm 127, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.” He then asked if we are raising children with the character that could stand for the gospel. Are we raising children who are straight, strong, and sharp arrows? Or, are we raising our kids more like wet noodles? Why do we do what we do? So that our children will look more like arrows and less like wet noodles. It will take a million small and intentional decisions. Peace and grace.