Parenting and Discipleship Take Time
By Jonathan McNeese (Woodforest, Houston)
Growing up, we sang a song in children’s church that went something like this:
He’s still working on me to make me what I ought to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be, He’s still working on me.
At the time, I don’t think that I really grasped what a great truth that song was teaching, but, as I look back, I can see the rich value held in its words. Romans 8:29 says: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” We all know the great responsibility that we as parents have in the nurturing of the children to which God has entrusted us. That great responsibility is only made more difficult as our children grow, begin to make their own choices and make our job as parents near impossible. At times, we may wonder, “what did I get myself into?”
Still, the reality is that spiritual growth is not a parental task that can be completed on the microwave aisle or even the crock-pot aisle to simply “set and forget.” Rather, God expects parents to lead our children through the process of sanctification emphasizing the small victories along the way. Christlikeness is something that our children must understand takes time and will not be complete until we stand before God one day in heaven.
Until that time, let us invest every ounce of influence we can muster into our children’s lives recognizing that we play an important role in God’s eternal plan for their lives. The Philadelphia 76ers made national news a few years back using the tagline “trust the process” concerning their unorthodox, slow-moving player development that was taking years to produce results. Their front office personnel remained adamant that they would eventually see the desired finished product if the fans gave them time to develop as they intended. Even though the 76ers have still not seen the success they desire, it is evident that they realize that sports like generational discipleship involves days, weeks, months and even years.
The next time your child makes a mistake that you feel like is completely inexcusable remember to speak the truth in love. God does not give up on us when we fail Him, and we should not treat our children any differently. Surround your family with prayer and love, trust the process of God working in their heart, and you will see him do amazing things that we could never imagine.