Bread – Parenting

June 3, 2013


Readings for Thursday, May 30, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Deut. 11:13-19; 2 Cor. 5:11-6:2; Luke 17:1-10; Psalm 41,44,52

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All of us who are or who have been parents know how hard it is. The little cherubs come into the world, totally dependent upon us; we throw our heart, soul, and love into making sure they are safe and well cared for; they grow up; and then, “smack” they hit us on the head and do things we told them not do in ways we told them not to do it, they become unruly and disobedient. In other words, they become “independent” and the cycle starts over. We tend to judge our parenting skills, not on our skill in the parenting process, but on the result – if the result was what we wanted, then we did a good job and, if not, well….

God seems to always be telling us, though, to worry about the process, about the actions we should take and statements we should make in obedience to Him. He tells us to follow His instructions and, then, to leave the outcome to Him. We are in charge of the obedience part; He is in charge of the outcome part. It seems like, many times, our approach to our control over the outcome is an indicator of the degree to which we think we are a god.

For example, God tells us to preach the gospel to the nations. That is the process and we are either obedient to it or not. He is in control of those who hear the message and respond positively. That is the outcome of the process and that is within His sovereign Will.

Now to the point of today’s Bread, “parenting.” In Deuteronomy today, we read these instructions from God to parents: “You shall teach them [God’s words] to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deut. 11:19

When should we be talking about God’s words with our children? All the time.

As parents, how often have we obeyed this Scripture?

Maybe, if we are truly diligent, we have prayed at night with them and sometimes at meals, if we happen to be eating together. Once in a blue moon we may get some question to which God’s word is an answer while we are driving to and from some place. But that is probably about it.

Do we talk about God’s words while we are helping our children get ready for school?

Do we talk about God’s words as we walk the dog with our children?

Do we talk about God’s words as we throw a football with our children?

Do we talk about God’s words as we play a video game with our children just so that we have some contact with them?

Do we even walk with our children, much less talk to them about God’s words on the way?

Do we even eat with our children, much less talk to them about God’s words during lunch?

The fact is that, if we have been “good” parents, we have provided for our children, we have taught them the ways of the world, we have cared for them when they are hurt, we have emphasized virtues of good living, caring, honesty, integrity, hard work, etc.

But we have not walked with them speaking of God’s words, and we have not talked to them continuously of God’s words.

And God says to us, you didn’t follow the process, so is it any wonder then that the outcome is not so good much of the time?

So what do we do?

In today’s reading from the second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul says some of the strongest words in Scripture, in my opinion – “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor. 6:2b

What do we do? Well, we don’t wait. We act now. First to confess our failure to be obedient, second to repent of it, turning toward the Lord, and (for Christians) third, ask the Lord for wisdom, trusting in Him to provide it, and fourth, strive to be obedient.

The time to act is now, not tomorrow and not five minutes from now, but now. Now is the favorable time.

And luckily for us, God is in control of the outcome.

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© 2013 GBF

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