Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Parenting and Sacrifice

I said this as we were dismissing on Sunday, but let me reiterate it here:  one of the greatest gifts that parents can give kids is models of sacrifice that it takes to follow Jesus.  In our kid-saturated, often-idolatrous parenting culture, it can be hard to imagine looking at a child of any age and telling them by words and actions that they are not the most important thing in your life.  But on occasion, that may be the best thing for them (and for you!).  They know what you treasure by your sacrifices.

Obviously I'm not advocating forsaking your parenting duties.  And for the record, Jesus isn't either.  We are to provide for them, discipline them, train them, and point kids to Christ as the True Treasure in the world.  That does not preclude selling everything we have in our joy to buy the field in which we found the Treasure of Treasures (Matthew 13.44).

If you've ever made a tough call on doing something and your kid has genuinely and passionately pled their case, with tears, for you not to go or not to do, you know it can be hard.  Often they simply don't understand why you're leaving.  And yes, you run the risk of frustrating or even embittering them.  But spending a week away from kids while you're on the mission field, taking a week to go to camp as a sponsor, or sacrificing some of our abundant stuff in order to provide for something else in the Kingdom are good things for kids to see.  As Abraham laid Isaac on the altar, so we, at times, need to lay what we are told is "good parenting" down in order to take up the greater good.  And our kids will take notice and, even amid tears, learn something.

Because one day they'll be called by God to something unpleasant or uncomfortable, and they'll already have a frame of reference for how to live that out.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

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