“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” – Psalm 127:3
Every Summer we try to offer a three or four week sermon series on a topic for the family. This year we’re looking at what the Bible has to say about parenting. We’ve titled the series, “Parenthood.” In our preparation for the series, we found this anonymous quote: “Parenthood. The scariest ‘hood’ you’ll ever go through.” Pretty hilarious huh? Yet, the truth is, parenting can be a very scary endeavor.
Let’s admit it. If being a parent doesn’t scare us a little, we’re probably not being truthful with ourselves. I still remember that panicky feeling when we left the hospital with our firstborn. My wife and I looked at each other with faces filled with love, joy and fear! We were entering the “hood” of parenthood for the first time. Then our little bundle of joy started crying…
“What’s wrong? Is it a dirty diaper? Is he hungry? Is he sick? Yikes! We checked all those three times each and he’s still crying! What do we do?”
We were so thankful that my mom spent the first week or so with us. Thank God for experienced grandmothers.
Many parents, have felt that scary “hood” of parenthood with even more intensity over the last year because of the pandemic. Some had to become homeschool teachers overnight as schools moved from in-person to online only. We probably spent more time with our kids last year than any time before. And that likely revealed both the joys and the pains of parenting. The fact is that parents not only feel afraid, but they feel overwhelmed and under-qualified.
I often hear parents say, “I wish my kid had come with an owner’s manual!” Well, actually they kinda do. For we have some great instructions on parenting in the Bible. God’s Word has a lot to say about children and parenting.
Perhaps the most important insight we can gain from the Bible concerning parenting is to understand our calling as parents. We’ve tried to summarize this calling with what we call the three “R”s of parenthood from God’s Word.
The first “R” is “Receive.” We are called to receive our children as a gift from God. As the psalmist wrote, they are to be received as a “heritage” and a “reward” from God. Children are to be highly valued. Parents have been given the gift of shepherding eternal beings with infinite value and potential.
The second “R” is “Raise-up.” We are called to raise-up our children for God. Parents have been called not to own their children, but to steward them as God’s children. They are on loan to us. And we are called to raise them up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Yet, we don’t have to feel afraid or overwhelmed by this great task. For God has not only given us His Word to guide us, but He has given us His Spirit to empower us. We can call on the Lord to help us.
The third “R” is “Release.” We are called to release our children to God. There are many important needs that we are called to meet as parents on behalf of our children: food, shelter, clothing, education, etc. Yet, the most important of all is that we are to make sure that our children have been given the gospel, so that they may follow Jesus and know God as Father. Our children are “like arrows” (Psa. 127:4) that parents are to aim at knowing and following the Lord.
Parenting can be a humbling and scary thing. But we don’t have to attempt it alone. We have God’s Word and God’s Spirit available to help us. Join us for the next three Sundays as we discuss how to follow the three “R”s of parenthood.