Survival is not living

This weekend, I will start teaching a book at our church.  It’s about parenting.  I’ve been thinking about parenting a good bit more lately than normal (if that’s possible with a pile of kids in my house).

Recently my son and I were doing an evening devotion.  We have this book called “Created for Work” by Bob Schulz that is focused on helping young boys understand the creation mandate (Genesis 2:15).  In the first chapter, “Art in your Heart” the author talks about how we don’t usually act like God as we approach life.  Take moths, for example.  What’s their life span?  Purpose?  Neither is very glorious compared to other things in life.  Yet, God created them with artistic fervor and in great detail.  He didn’t have to do that for a bug.  Or house flies?  Their eyes are among the most complex in the animal world.  This is for an insect whose life span is about a month (less in my house!).

God is an artist and a maximalist.  He is not a minimalist like we often live.  He is not interested in simply survival but “thrival.”  He takes great pleasure and satisfaction in the details of life.  He works and works and works until the product is perfect and glorious – like a sunset or a conch shell or a smile.  Creation is the easiest place to see that our Creator is not interested in anything other than the maximums.

In Christ, He gives us the same opportunity and the same charge.  In fact, He tells us “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) and “Whatever you do whether in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus…as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:17, 23).

Brothers and sisters, don’t parent as minimalists.  Don’t let your parenting be only about survival.  It can so easily become about laundry, yard work, dishes, cooking, sleeping, changing clothes and paying bills.  Those things we must do, of course.  But not as minimalists.  Can you receive the tasks of each day from the Lord and work them creatively, differently or thoughtfully?  In the book, he tells boys not just to mow the lawn in boring straight lines and put the lawnmower in the garage and plop down on the couch!  Cut angles, trim hedges, plant flowers, create a mower station in the garage with fuel, and oil and tools!  Surely, if God calls us to find Him in the details of our lives, He will be found if we look!

Look again.

One thought on “Survival is not living

  • Your post title caught my eye.

    I recently listened to an awesome sermon by Winkie Pratney called Victory vs. Survival.

    You can download it free from – just look up “winkie pratney.”

    It details the difference between the two. It’s a very inspiring and challenging message.

    Feel free to visit me at:

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