Your Most Important Job

Read: Proverbs 22:1-16

What is the most important job you have ever had?  If you are a parent the task of raising your children should be right at the top of that list.  Last night former President Bill Clinton made a statement that caught my attention.  He has held many jobs in his life including being a state governor and the President of the United States of America for 8 years, but in his speech last night at the Democrat’s National Convention he said that raising their child Chelsea was the most important job they ever had.  Politics aside that is a very important word for all of us parents to hear.

In Proverbs 22 we hear the verse that is so commonly shared by parents and others.  It says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”   Our children are their own persons.  We cannot make decisions for them once they are out of our homes and living their own lives.  This is why the 18 to 20 years that they are in our homes are so crucial.  It is the most important job you will ever have.

However, don’t let the weight of that title become a burden to you.  Do the best job that you possibly can and rely on God to help you through the good, the bad, and the ugly.  There will be some of each of those in your experience for sure.  If you teach them to follow Jesus, abide by his Word, and make him the Lord of their lives you have started in the right place.  After that be sure to teach them manners, life skills, relationship skills, and other good and positive examples that will benefit them later in life.

There is a certain type of bamboo in Japan that only flowers once every 120 years.  It’s hard to understand how this plant can keep track of time, but everything 119 years before it germinates will determine how much the bamboo will bloom. And that’s a long time to wait to see the results.  In the same way, children don’t always blossom on your timetable. The love, discipline and instruction you pour into their lives cannot be immediately seen.

Our job as a parent is to prune and nourish our children in anticipation of their blooming. And once they do, you’ll see them grow rapidly into patient, loving and consistent people.  One interesting thing about that Japanese bamboo is that the latest bloomers often have the most striking and beautiful flowers.  Never give up on your child!  Continue to pray for them, support them, encourage them, and show them the ways of God.

One last thing.  Make sure that your children are involved in Church, in Sunday School, in Youth Groups, and other civic activities that will help them to grow spiritually and learn important life skills.  Don’t become so busy that you cannot enjoy each other, but be intentional about what they are involved in and who they are involved with.  Most of all pray for them.  If your child is not where you would like them to be right now, pray that Jesus would lead them to that place.

Make it Personal:  In verse 15 of Proverbs 22 it says, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.”  It is important to discipline our children so that they know right from wrong.  However, we must discipline out of love, care, and concern for them, not out of our anger and violent reactions.  Sometimes it helps to cool down, pray about it, and then address the folly that needs to be addressed.  My prayers are with you as you do this most important job, please pray for me as well.

Have a blessed week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church