Yesterday afternoon a well assembled fleet of volunteers helped Amy and I move out of our rented condo to a house. So until we get the place more liveable, or until our refrigerator arrives, we’ll be staying with some good and hospitable friends. After spending a day of packing and unloading, we were quite tired but began to reflect with the other couple on the joys of raising children.
As I read in Gospel Powered Parenting-and this was probably the best part of the book-parents and those involved in Christian Ed (Sunday school teachers, nursery or youth volunteers) parent and teach with eternity in view. Paul beautifully sums up this mission in Colossians 1:28: “that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”
So while our goal for parenting and teaching is for the gospel to save our children and students from sin’s punishment/power/presence, God’s goal for children/students actually looks quite similar.
We were discussing how Connar would some day soon, if not already, make us look bad. That’s a sad way of looking it at, but I think probably fairly accurate until we regularly repent. Part of his behavior will be our own shortcomings as parents and part will be his own strong will. Then Amy and I reflected on this with our present company and had these thoughts:
1.) Parenting/teaching will make us look bad (like Madonna pictured above), but the plus side of this is that we’ll have to look elsewhere for our righteousness. Instead of looking to Connar to make us feel worthy, we have to look to Jesus for all (NOT JUST A GOOD PART OF IT) our righteousness and approval. So in some ways, children are just as influential in the parents/teachers grasp of the gospel as parents/teachers are influential in their children/students’ grasp of the gospel.
2.) We all agreed that parents/teachers with children who are well behaved and look good on the outside will have a harder time not remembering Jesus’ righteousness. Instead such parents will have to take special pains to keep from parading their children around as “poster children” and looking to them to find worth before others. Such parents/teachers will remember their own hard work, prayer, study-and they should because these are necessary-but may forget the X factor: the work of the Holy Spirit. The longer I’ve been involved to some degree in children/youth/college ministry over the last 10 years, the only way to explain why kids get none/some/all of the gospel is the ministry of God’s Spirit. So I guess that’s a good place to start in prayer.