March 18 I Saturday
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light…and find out what pleases the Lord.” —Ephesians 5:8-10
Parenting is one of the greatest privileges in the world, while also one that carries great challenges, demands and expenses. A forgotten element in our busy world is in the context of time given to our children. A number of years ago, an article was written about this issue saying, “The belief that time is money has become the driving force of modern life. To children, however, time equals love. It is the worst indictment of our age that we spend so little time with our children to instill good behaviour by example and instruction. Research suggests that children would choose to have more of their parents’ time above the highest standard of living in the world. Splashing out at birthdays and Christmas in an attempt to make up for the lost year is a waste of money. Children need adults to play. This makes a child feel wanted and loved, creating a healthy self-confidence that is the basis of good behaviour. If time is love, absence is the most basic form of abuse.” Over the years, we created something called “quality time,” but for children it is just time. Children are traditional—all they need is love and all the love they need is time. Parents should strive to create this in a context where there is love, encouragement, understanding and communication.
What should we do with the time God has given us with the next generation? The greatest truth we can pass on is that the greatest joy lies with pleasing the Lord. What pleases the Lord? As children obey, this pleases the Lord. Jesus teaches us, “Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching… Anyone who does not love Me will not obey My teaching” (John 14:23-24). We find that loving God and obeying Him are intricately related.
Teaching children to obey is much more than just the convenience of having well-behaved children, but preparing them for the Christian life—to live in relationship with God. If we asked parents what they want for their children, many will respond that they want their child to be happy. But happiness is one of those things that if we go for it, we actually miss it. Happiness is not the goal. In the Christian life, holiness is the goal, and happiness is the consequence, as we live securely in knowing we are exactly where God wants us to be.
As we invest time with our children—teaching them to love and obey God—it pleases the Lord, and we will find that parenting is one of the most joyful things we can do.
Prayer: Lord Heavenly Father, thank You for the time You give me with the next generation. While parenting comes at a cost, I want to please You by teaching my child to love and obey You.