Parents who love their children typically “want what’s best” for them. This can translate into providing opportunities to explore interests, or enabling time and resources with patience while our sons test various skills and abilities. Inevitably, it also means providing coaching and guidance – after all, as adults, we have been around the block a couple of times and we should share our acquired wisdom and insights.
I think we need to be careful; however, to distinguish how we perceive “what’s best” for our sons – is “best” aligned with what we see on TV, read in books, or receive from God’s Word?
Naturally (because we love them), it’s normal to want our children to:
- never go hungry,
- never be homeless, or
- never become ill with the lack of resources that could treat/heal them
However, it’s easy to tip that scale too far to the other extreme. We can easily slip from protection (contentment) to defining wealth, mansions, the praise of men, and perfect health through perfecting one’s own body in physical sport and training as the goal for (or happy outcome of ) our sons’ lives. This would be unfortunate for many reasons:
- our sons could be confused in how to distinguish doing their very best at their appointed task (aka “Walking Worthy”; vocational callings, ministry service, et.al.) versus doing their very best to acquire material goods or conditions (stuff, wealth, house on the hill, perfect 6-pack Abs, vanity wife, etc.) as artificial measuring posts (i.e. running hard to win the prize of the true calling, versus running hard to fill a trophy case of trinkets)
- our sons could become over-confident in their own abilities, accomplishments, intellect, and material goods to lose sight of God’s role in daily living, and our dependency on Him. (Matthew 6:25-34)
- our sons could be confused as to the origin of our love — pride in their earthly accomplishments, versus joy in seeing how they help, serve, lead others in relationships motivated by gratitude for all God has already accomplished on our behalf (salvation from slavery and damnation).
Surely, the best possible life for our children is defined by their response to God’s commands (obedience), receipt of His grace upon confession and repentance for restoration, and to do good works – not to earn reconciliation, but out of gratitude and as an expression of love towards others. In this case, I want them to seek God, run the race as to win (for Him), and regardless of the outcome, know I love them as gifts from God (Psalm 127:3).
Consider these passages as admonitions to our sons (each will open in a new window, each from NASB unless otherwise noted):
- 1 Tim 6:8-12 – If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
- Matthew 5:16 – Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
- Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
- 1 Cor 3: 10-15 – According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
- 2 Cor 5:9-10 – Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
- 1 John 2:28 – Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.
- Ephesians 4:1-3 (TLB) – I beg you—I, a prisoner here in jail for serving the Lord—to live and act in a way worthy of those who have been chosen for such wonderful blessings as these. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit and so be at peace with one another.
Give your sons (and daughters) a big hug; talk with them, spend time sharing insights from the Word. Let them know you love them and want them to follow God’s leading for their lives. It may have eternal consequences.