In case you hadn’t noticed (and some of you haven’t, have you), I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been on vacation celebrating my 34th wedding anniversary (see previous post) and playing with my 2 year old granddaughter, Lucy. I also got to spend some time with her mom and dad, too, and that was nice.
We had a great week. I even got to help Jon, my son-in-law, build a Murphy Bed. See the pictures below.
It was a great opportunity to spend quality time with him and to discover that he is a real thinker. No, not a stinker, a thinker, though both might be appropriate. While I’ve had multiple opportunities to work on projects with Rob, my other son-in-law (we’ve done everything from roofing to insulation to drywall to vinyl siding together), this was the biggest project I’ve worked on with Jon. And I discovered something about myself. I am brilliant and a great father. No, really, I am. I say that because I helped raise two daughters who found two great husbands who have become two great fathers. If you haven’t learned this already, I am very proud of my family and love sharing them with you through this blog.
But on a more serious note, family is important. I had a discussion with a lady last week in Pensacola about this very thing. When you raise your family under the guidance of Scripture and the Holy Spirit, you don’t have to worry about them when they are grown. Well, all parents worry about their children, but you don’t have to simply because the Bible makes a promise, and if the Bible makes a promise, you can bet that it’s going to be honored. The wise old king who didn’t always live the way that he should was given the wisdom to tell us that if we raise up/train our children in the way they should go, when they are old, they will not depart. They will do the right things. They will make the right choices. They will live the Christian life.
Sadly, I’ve talked to hundreds of parents who tell me that it didn’t work for them. They took their children to church and taught them to do good things, but their kids didn’t stay on track. The problem is not with the promise; the problem is with their understanding of the promise. The word that King Solomon used in Proverbs 22:6 was the Hebrew word chanak, and it comes from a word that means “narrow,” and in itself means to initiate or discipline – literally “to train. It is actually the word used to describe Abraham’s servants who were outstanding military men capable of defeating a much larger army. You could almost consider them as Special Forces soldiers, trained and disciplined beyond the ordinary.
What does that mean for parents? It means that we must start when our children are young and maintain the discipline and training every day of their lives until they go off on their own. It isn’t just about taking them to church; it’s about teaching them God’s Word at home, praying with them at home, ministering with them at home and everywhere we go. It’s about letting them see us honor the Great Commandment to love God supremely and to love people sacrificially. It’s about involving them in the Great Commission where we let them help us make disciples. It’s about teaching them how to live apart from the world while ministering Christ’s love to the world. That’s what it means to train up a child in the way they should go. And the good news is that there is grace for all the times that parents aren’t perfect. You are going to mess up, but God honors the efforts that come from a pure heart and a desire to do the right thing. That’s why I’m a brilliant father: I follow the instruction manual!