Sooo…college is it?

The Bible says many things about many things.  It seems reasonable to believe that all the eternally important things ARE in the Bible.  The rest, though meaningful, is not in the same category of importance.  I have interacted with many confessing Christians who regularly elevate things not in the Bible to apocalyptic importance.  Like kids and careers.

What about goals for our children?  Into what should we be aiming our children?  Back in the day of my youth and exuberance, college was it.  I-T.  It was the goal, it was the done deal, it was what was expected, it was the topic of conversation, it was the object of ridicule etc., etc.  Few were the ones who did not go to college.  Fewer were the ones who admitted that they really didn’t want to go.

That was then.  This is now.  Now, I have children.  The conversations I have about college these days are far different than they used to be.  I remember talking to a friend who didn’t ever go to college but seemed to be fitting into God’s plan just fine and thinking, “whoa, she didn’t go to college.”  That was the beginning of a conversation that endures regarding my kids and college.  Now, I’m not quite there yet so even these musings are theoretical.

Here’s an interesting article: Is College the Only Option?

I guess the question is should we just assume that university is a done deal for our children?  “Of course he’s going to college!”  “Why, as soon as she graduates she’s off to college!”  That brings me back to how I started: the Bible and college.  Hmmm.  Strangely silent.  In fact, the silence is eerie.  The Bible does not tell me I must train my children to go to college.  It does not tell me that the key to my child’s future is college.

Instead, the world tells me that college is the place where 2/3 of churched children reject the faith they know.  If that is true, that’s a big deal.  There are surely many reasons for that tragic statistic but it isn’t necessarily reason not to send our kids to college.  God’s path for His children is often a valley that feels like death (see Psalm 23).

Parents are to prepare our children for the tasks that God has set before them.  That may mean sending them to college.  It may not.  We must certainly should ask  God if college is His plan for our children.  Of course, there are practical reasons to ask the question as the linked article tells us.  But, the greater question regards just to what is God calling our children?  We must pray and ask!

Nobody likes Underlings

I was thinking about kingdoms today.  Check out the basics:

God is King of His Kingdom – Psalm 24:7-10

7Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory?  The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!   9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors that the King of glory may come in.  10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!

Christ is the reigning and returning King – Revelation 19:15-16

15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Kingdoms and parenting go together.  God is King; we live in His kingdom.  We are underlings. Nobody likes underlings – least of all our children.  Have you ever thought of that?  Why don’t you like underlings?  First of all, they can tell us what to do since they are literally under someone else’s authority.  Secondly, they can’t make changes to the boss’ rules (we hate that).  Thirdly, we like access and power and underlings prevent us from both.

Our children are no different.  They are uber-underlings – think of that!  This is especially relevant once we consider what it actually means to live in God’s kingdom.  There are rules, you see.  There’s a standard for right and wrong (one that’s already completely written, by the way).  It is the law of God set forth in the Bible.

Let’s say little bubba or precious suzie-Q break the rules.  What have they done?  Two things.  First, they have disregarded the existing rules of the King.  They have acted as if He’s not really sitting on that Throne regarding all their thoughts, words and actions.  They have said, “There is no God” and have become as fools: Psalm 14:1.  Wow, do they need the Gospel.

But, no one likes an empty throne, so they do a second thing: they write new rules.  When little precious decides to snipe at her sister, she’s created a rule that says, “In my kingdom, sniping is allowed.”  When cheesy-grin boy grumbles at bed-time, he’s codified a new law, “In my kingdom, bedtime is when I say it is!”  Note to self: rules that we make are only ever good for just us.

We – parents (and all) – must live in light of these two kingdoms before we try to press our children for kingdom obedience, don’t we?  We have the same tendencies to ascend the throne, re-write the rules and rule kingdoms.  You love to be kings and queens and kingdom-rulers!

We must parent our children in light of these two constantly competing kingdoms: the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Me.  In the latter, I’m king and I make the rules and you’d better listen.  Yet, in the former, He is King and He is the best of Kings.  His rules – so wise and purposeful – can always do infinitely more good than rules we or our children create.

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.