I choose fiction every time. Give me an adventure tale, a dystopian society, or a historical romance. I will actually finish these books.
When it comes to non-fiction, I’d rather glean advice from a wise friend or interpret Scripture myself instead of trusting the author. Maybe that makes me arrogant.
But these days we are deep in the trenches of newborn craziness and toddler independence. So when I found Devotions for Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas stashed away in my hope chest, I decided it was worth cracking open. I love it; so simple and so profound.
Today’s chapter was about Obadiah, a name that means, “servant of Yahweh.” He discussed the issue of why we choose to have kids and that in some cases we parent them based on that purpose.
For some, having a baby may have been an accident. So perhaps these children are raised haphazardly, as though they were not exactly part of the plan. Some people fear being alone, so they create children who are dependent, sheltered and needy. Some parents want a redo; another chance at childhood. So they raise their children the opposite of the way they were raised.
If your goal is for your child to be “happy,” you’ll buy them whatever they want instead of teaching them simplicity, self-control and responsibility.
If you want successful children, you’ll spare no expense to get them into the right schools with the right clothes and the right connections to get the right job. If you desire athletic or achieving children, you’ll provide them with the best coaching, the most exclusive clubs, expensive equipment and ample advice to help them become the athlete that you were–or perhaps the athlete you weren’t.
Christian parents should have a different aim: that their child become an Obadiah. A servant of God. Malachi 2:5-6 sums it up…godly children are in awe of Him, they revere His Word, walk with Yahweh, live peacefully with others and turn from sin. If we realize that there is no higher goal in parenthood than raising children who love Jesus, we are willing to help them face the realities of frustration and disappointment they’ll find in the “world.” We are committed to training, correcting, encouraging and praying for our kids daily. Hourly. Even when they are screaming in the car and the light just won’t. turn. green.
While I still want Finn and Paisley to develop their abilities, find fantastic spouses and land jobs they love, my purpose for them is higher. I want them to become like Christ. I pray often that they will know Him much better and more intimately than I do.
Thomas concludes the chapter:
May the prayer of our hearts be, “Lord, refine my motivations, purify my actions, and energize my heart so that I do all I can to help my children find their greatest joy and their highest aim in serving you.”
Time to check my motives and realign my goals for my babies.