A new week after a pretty restful weekend for me and I am fired up to get started on the week. Today, we are continuing our book study on “Parenting Is Your Highest Calling” And 8 Other Myths That Trap Us In Worry and Guilt. Today, we dispel myth #3 that “Parenting Is Your Highest Calling.”
Is parenting the number one call for parents? Can anything even hold a candle to it? Today, we’ll answer the question honestly.
Leslie begins the chapter by telling us the story of meeting a couple ladies after a speaking engagement. The two women begin to focus on how important the calling of motherhood (or parenting) is. Eventually they call it the highest calling that women have. Leslie then goes into the sentiment of what these ladies meant. She calls it one of her “most essential duties and loves of my life.” But she also begins to go down the list of “Christian” people, ministries, etc., that call people to the love of parenting as THE number one calling.
One line in this explanation that I love the most is this: “In addition, many Christian writers understandably link the disintegration of our culture to the breakdown of the family. When the family crumbles, the nation crumbles.” I’ll say this. I agree to some degree that this is true. Let’s face it. We have television, computers, video games and the like as a babysitter. There is dysfunction with over 50% divorce rate and with the argument of same-sex marriage. However, even though it is a major link in the chain. It isn’t the most costly. While parenthood has changed, God’s place in peoples’ lives has also changed. I can cite prayer being taken out of school and The Ten Commandments being removed from the courthouse as examples to a change in American society that has made parenting that much more important.
The question remains though, what does God say about this? Even though parenting has become even more valuable in trying times like these, does God agree with this approach?
Leslie begins with the story of James and John’s mother coming to Jesus and asking that they be remembered by being seated to Jesus’ right and left in heaven. Mothers always want what they perceive to be best for their sons, but she really had no idea what she was really asking for. Jesus did not beat her down for the request though. He simply asked if they were willing to go the same walk that Jesus did. The boys said yes. They had no idea what they were saying either. Jesus told them that they would indeed take that same cup. I wonder if they thought about that deeper after Jesus was crucified. I mean, you now know that you are going to die in a bad way. How does that really make you feel? You may say that it’s an honor to die like Jesus, but is that really the way you want to leave this world, hanging on a cross? It’s not my first choice.
Leslie then tells us that the mother was accepting of what the boys were doing, following Jesus as disciples. The woman did not come to feel anything special toward what Jesus was about to go through, but great places for her sons. She was a momma that was proud of her boys and she wanted all of heaven to know it.
But Jesus turned the conversation in a great way by explaining to her and anyone else that was listening that it wasn’t his job to determine who would sit next to him, but also to say that seating in the VIP section of heaven wasn’t what being a part of this ministry was about.
I find it interesting that Jesus shows us and also tells us in this account that we are to be servants rather than waiting to be served. I always give my kids and wife a hard time telling them that life isn’t Burger King. But that is so true. We can’t snap our fingers at God and go “Double cheeseburger, fries, Diet Coke, and everything else I’ve ever wanted, NOW!” The funniest thing is that people think that way and even say it in some circles. We aren’t entitled to the keys to the kingdom because we say so. We are only given them by God’s grace, mercy and love.
But I love the comeback thought that Leslie throws out here. Was there a burn inside this woman’s head? She had served her husband and sons and felt her role was to bring about the best she possibly could for them. Her success was seeing her boys successful. A lot of us get tied up in that. We want them to be successful at all costs rather than doing what they were created to do, which will make them successful in the only eyes that matter.
The next paragraph is about Jesus telling us that we are to love God above all else. There will be no gods before Him. But I have to admit, I struggle with that. Most of us do. I have three precious angels that I would do anything for. They are my hopes and dreams. They are the stars of my life. To be honest, they are at the same level or very close to how much I love my wife. Some days they are ahead.
The next section of what Leslie talks about is of the story of Abraham and Isaac. After waiting for decades for the son that was the promise of the future for Abraham, God told him to take Isaac to be sacrificed to him. Thankfully, God spared Isaac at the last possible moment as Abraham was completely obedient. As a dad, I read that and go “How could he even think about saying yes to that?” That’s a position I pray never to be put in. I can’t imagine hurting any one of my babies for anything.
The point of the test is that God wants us to choose him as first. Our relationship with him needs to be top priority. Leslie takes the rest of the chapter telling us that by making God first, all the other relationships of our lives fall into their proper place. While being a great parent is important, it is not an exclusivity of me and my wife to raise these children. The old saying that it takes a village to raise an idiot is true. We need to be the primary caretakers and influences, but there are others that we are to look to for good guidance as well. There are teachers and Sunday school ministries that are instructing our children in godly and practical ways to make them smarter and more secure in the world. There are godly friends that we keep praying for to be a part of their lives.
While it is a parent’s job to protect and to serve our children, we are allowed the grace of help from other sources. We are also to keep God a reality in their lives as well. We need to demonstrate prayer and Bible reading as important in daily life. We need to share the belief in God as a the primary source of our help and instruction. Our kids need to know that God is not a fairy tale like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. They need to know that Jesus came, died, was buried and raised on the third day for them and us. When our children see us take time out for God and explain why to them, they will begin to want to as well.
The next to last paragraph hit me strong.
“Knowing this (that God is the root of his promises), when my children disappoint me, I need not be shaken. I am freed to love them as God loves them--not because he craves their attention, not because he needs them to need him, not for what they will bring to him or do for him, but simply because they are HIS and he desires to pour out his love upon them.”
I’m also reading another book called “The Heart of Anger” by Lou Priolo. One of the great misconceptions that I’ve lived with is that I feel that by drowning my children in love, they will understand God’s love. The great part of my desire is that God’s love will pour out on them even when I fail or have to discipline them.
It is somewhat a relief to know that we are stewards rather than the end all answer man for our children. Teaching them that God is their highest calling doesn’t relieve us of our work in them, but it does allow us and our children grace as they grow up and we grow older.
I love you guys!
PS-Remember that there is six days remaining to enter the September Music Giveaway by joining One Man Revival Ministries on Facebook. You can go there to find out which CD’s you can win beyond a grand prize of KJ-52’s Five Two Television, due out on September 22. Head over to the fan page and sign up to win.