Parenting: God Chooses Amateurs
- Monday, September 25, 2006
Chalk it up to a middle class with more discretionary income or simply the mega-trend toward specialization, but more and more of us are hiring other people to do things that used to be our responsibility. This is especially true when it’s something that doesn’t fit into our busy schedule, something we don’t enjoy doing, or something we don’t feel competent enough to do well.
I’m not complaining. If we can get help on the mundane parts of our lives enough to then use our optional time more effectively, then I’d say, "Power to the people!" But mega-trends have a bad habit of mega-reformatting some features within our thinking that might be better off left as they are. This is especially true when it comes to the responsibility of raising our kids. In our world of crowded schedules, it’s easy to default to sub-contracting the most time consuming and complicated parts of parenting to childhood specialists. This makes perfect sense if we’re talking about playing the oboe or throwing a slider, but it blows up in our faces when the issue is about protecting our kids from the clear and present dangers that threaten their spiritual lives.
Regardless of what our "nannyfied" culture tells us, there’s something every parent needs to know. God gave the task of building the inner mettle of our children’s spiritual lives to us. It is irrelevant how unqualified we may feel when we look at the skills required to do the job well; it’s still our job. The good news is that He’s provided us with all the tools and the resources needed to do a stellar job. All you need to do is to take what you’ve got, hand it over to Him, and watch what happens.
Sound too simplistic? Squeeze with me through a narrow crease in time. There’s something you need to see. It’s seventy years after Israel has been led away in chains to Babylon. It’s the price they had to pay for their national unbelief. Jerusalem is a mere shadow of its former glory. A disheveled remnant has returned to find a pile of rubble where the Temple once stood. The wall formerly surrounding the city is just as King Nebuchadnezzar’s army left it—with no rock left on top of another. Nehemiah has led these pilgrims back from Babylon to reclaim their spiritual birthright. But before they can restore the Temple and salvage their traditional way of life, they must rebuild the wall.
Why? All you had to do was look to your left or right and you could see the reason. There were enemies in the region—nasty, determined adversaries of the God of Israel who knew that a restored Temple meant an end to the choke hold they had been enjoying on the political, economic, and religious power in that part of the world. If they were going to keep God’s light from once again shining from the Temple Mount they would have to put their full energies towards preventing the wall from being rebuilt. A strong and unbroken wall represented a secure defense from these enemies without and a peaceful calm to these pilgrims within. For the ragtag remnant from Babylon, the wall wasn’t a maybe but a must.
This is when you’re supposed to get out the Yellow Pages for a good list of the professional wall contractors in the area, draw up some blue prints, get some bids, and have them start moving boulders. That was the problem. There were no professional wall construction companies to call, and even if there were, none would have answered. There was only one way that the wall would be built—and that’s by the sweat labor of a collection of people that hadn’t a clue what they were doing. But Nehemiah knew something at the front side of the project that the people wouldn’t find out until it was completed—if God is all you’ve got going for you when you’re in over your head, God is all you need.
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