What father can listen to this song without feeling the sting of parental guilt? Ugh! I was greeted with this poignant tune when I returned home from work yesterday. I was again clearly reminded that my own pursuits, no matter how noble or needful, are not top priority.
Have you paused to ponder the value to time. It is more scarce and precious than any material riches that one can imagine. If I spend a sum of money on a product or service, I have the ability to work and recoup those funds at a future date. But time can never be recovered. The minutes that you have spent reading this brief note can never be used for any other activity. Pretty sobering isn't it? Some amongst us are wealthy; others are paupers; but we all have the same 24 hours in a day.
As I listened to the sad lyrics of this song, I was once again confronted with the truth that our children are a unique blessing and gift from God that is not to be taken lightly. He has loaned them to us for a relatively brief period of time, usually 18 to 21 years at the most! In that timeframe He expects us to train and shape them in preparation for adulthood. If we fill a great portion that time with work, entertainment, slothful behavior or vain pursuits, we cannot simply push the rewind button and try again. That opportunity in life is history.
The following passages of scripture are even more convicting than a depressing song:
Psalms 127:3-5 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Fathers, these verses ought to speak to your heart. Our children are precious blessings from God. We are to shape them as a warrior would fashion an arrow in preparation for battle. This takes much patience, skill and labor. If little time is spent on the arrow, it will be ineffective during the heat of battle. When your children leave home, will they be ready for the challenges that will inevitably confront them in this world or will they be consumed by them? Are they prepared to hit the target of God's standard? By God's grace we can equip them to be ready to fight the good fight of faith as adults.
Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
In the above passage, Jesus is challenging our priorities. What is most important to you? Where is your treasure? Is it in dedicating 12-14 hours a day to your vocation. Perhaps it is in a particular interest or hobby? Jesus teaches that where are treasure is, our hearts are there too. If we are truly seeking Him, we must turn our hearts towards those things that he has given us; namely our families and children. True discipleship begins within the four walls of our homes!
We have all missed the mark as fathers and cannot turn back the hands of time. But thanks be to God that we can redeem the time that we have left with our children.
Ephesians 5:14-16 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
It is high time that we recalibrate our lives. A firm commitment to God is to be top priority in our use of time. This is to be manifest in how we treat our spouses and the time that we dedicate to our children. Fathers, you are your child's primary teacher. God holds YOU accountable for the upbringing of those young ones in your charge. Don't allow any other person, people, entity or thing usurp this responsibility. Our churches and society has suffered enough from this error! Much more can be said on this issue, but my children are waking up from sleep. God bless you in your labors as a dad!
Bro. Michael Green, Jr.