I don’t think there is a parent on the planet that in their right mind doesn’t want the best for their kids. That is something that I rarely question. What I do question is “Do they really know what is best?” Many dads and moms will work countless hours hoping to give their children the American dream. Many will make sure their children have every opportunity possible to succeed. If that means running from one activity to another most parents are willing to sacrifice it all hoping that their son or daughter has even a better life than they had in their life journey. This got me thinking in the midst of a rambling world, “What should I be trying to give my children while I have the opportunity of influence?”
Here is what I’ve seen in my short life here on this earth. Money won’t guarantee happiness. Being voted “Most likely to succeed” doesn’t mean they will. And, giving your kids “things” that only have earthly value won’t make all their dreams come true. Unfortunately, I believe we’ve all been guilty of focusing on the things that later won’t really matter, instead of parenting with eternity in mind.
The bible tells us that there are three things that remain beyond this life….FAITH, HOPE, & LOVE. Seasons of our lives will pass away, trophies will collect dust, and accomplishments will be forgotten. But, FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE will endure forever. This should compel us to do everything we can to give our children all three of these priceless gifts.
#1 FAITH…..The Bible says “What good it it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul.” Many don’t want to face this reality, but we are all going to die. And, when we die we are going to stand before God and face judgement. And, depending on whether we have put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ we will either go to Heaven or Hell. This is not my opinion, this is what we read in God’s word. Knowing this compels me to make sure that I am ready to meet my maker, since death can come at anytime and any age. But, it also compels me to do everything I can to make sure that my boys understand that there is a life beyond this life….it’s called eternity. And, I want them to know that they have a choice in front of them. The can either live by the flesh or live by faith. They can either reject Jesus or accept Jesus. If they accept Jesus into their hearts by grace and through faith they will be saved and go to Heaven. If they do nothing about their sinful condition they will get what we all deserve eternity in Hell.
Now, I don’t just want to make sure that each of my boys have prepared themselves for eternity. I want to teach them to live by faith and with eternity in mind. I want to show them how they can trust God fully regardless of their circumstances, income, setbacks, or short comings. Now, here is the problem for most. You can’t share with someone, something you don’t have yourself. You can’t lead someone, somewhere you’re not going yourself. Living by faith is a lifestyle and must be modeled before our children. If all they think we care about is worldy stuff they too will put their stock in things that will disappoint and fade away. But, if they see our lives being built upon and anchored by faith they too will know how to build a life that will last.
#2 HOPE……There is no doubt kids growing up today see and hear a culture that is in distress and panic. Many don’t know what tomorrow will bring and they are popping pills and downing drinks trying to extinguish their anxiety. I want my children to know that we each have somewhere we can turn for help. God will hear and answer our prayers. God will take care of us and never leave nor forsake us.
My kids have seen my wife and I on several occassions when money was tight and things were uncertain gather everyone together for prayer. I want my boys to be well prepared for the pressures and stresses this world will throw their way. Therefore, I have to make sure they understand that their hope is not dependent upon their circumstance, their parents, or their abilities. Our HOPE is found in God and God alone. He is our refuge, our provider, our sustainer, our redeemer, our captain, our rock, our coach, our savior, our everlasting prince of peace, our ever present HOPE in time of need. My boys need to see that in the darkest of times we have a constant hope even if everyone else abandons us.
#3 LOVE……We all throw this word around loosely and quickly. We love our kids. Well if we love our kids we should do what is best for them not sometimes, but all the times. A)Love them Like Jesus…..This means love them despite who they are and who they become. A parents love should go beyond all others and beyond what we feel about situations. We should be their greatest cheerleader and their greatest coach. We should love them enough to talk with them about the everyday issues of life. We should love them enough to walk with them through dark valleys and assure them that we will remain by their side through it all. B)Love them to Jesus. I sincerely believe that my greatest job as a parent is to prepare my boys to live without me, not to live with me. I want them to their own faith, hope, and love. I want their marriages to be way above average and their families to be a blessing for all they come in contact with. Everyday is an opporuintiy to lead, guide, and model faith, hope, and love. I don’t want to look back as many parents have shared with me through the years and say, “I wish I would have done that…..”
My friends if you still have children living within the home that are under the age of 18. We have a responsibility and a tremendous opportunity to prepare our children for life. Make sure that you’re living each day with the end in mind. Make sure you do everything you can from this moment forward to model and pass on to your children these greatest gifts.
(1 Corinthians 13:13)And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.