Your Hurried Life May Be Hurting Your Kids
Generations Ministry: Parents & Family
by Nathan A. Cherry, 04/11/2012
There’s an old saying I’ve heard all my life which says, “If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” This sly strategy has effectively rendered the life of many Christians null and void. While inspiring authors like John Piper say “Don’t Waste your Life,” and visionary pastors like David Platt call us to be “Radical,” and respected leaders like Francis Chan push us toward a “Crazy Love” for God; Satan pushes us toward the breaking point with a calendar so full it rivals presidents and pop stars. Click here for 5 characteristics of a hurried life.
To say that we are “hurried” is perhaps a great understatement; hurried would be an improvement for most people today. Between strenuous workloads for mom and dad that produce less and cost more, school activities, community activities, sports, fund raisers, and the typical errands of life; we are far more than “hurried.”
And sadly, many people don’t see the hidden dangers of their hurried lives; or the consequences a hurried life has on children. Most notably is the negative effect on family a hurried life produces as each member of the family becomes a “ship in the night” passing by daily without more than a few minutes of interaction. In fact, one recent article I read says that in the very near future new homes won’t even include a dining room because they will be considered “unnecessary.” Yet we read in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 that one of the main times of teaching our kids occurs when we “sit down in our house” to eat. Click here to read about to lead even when life gets busy.
It seems this commitment to a hurried life and a schedule filled with “good” things has taken a prominent position on our calendar while replacing the “best” things designed to grow us in our faith. Frequently are complaints that there is no time for personal devotions, or Bible reading, and trouble memorizing Scripture. Yet there always seems to be plenty of time for video games, television, and social networks; and no trouble remembering all those sports statistics.
This sad reality has led to prioritizing sports and clubs over faith and service. We don’t dare break our commitment to our sports team, but we have no trouble breaking our commitment to our church team. I don’t find it surprising at all that a lost world routinely criticizes Christians for a marked “lack of commitment.”
The trickle-down effect of this pattern is seen in younger generations that see church as nothing more than a “to-do” on their checklist to be marked off. This is not hard to understand if they grow up watching parents model this attitude by placing a higher priority on sports and clubs.
I was blessed with parents that placed the highest priority on faith and service and sought to model this and teach me to do the same. As a result, though I played city-league baseball and football and began working when I was 14; I never struggled with what was most important to me. I made sure every coach and every boss knew that I didn’t work or play during church and I never missed one church service because of either. While many try to convince me this is impossible today, I disagree. I believe when Christians honor God with their priorities, God honors them (See Acts 7:54-60).
As a result of what was modeled for me growing up I have made faith and service the highest priorities for my own family. We intentionally keep our evenings as free as possible so we can sit down and eat supper together and talk. I make it a priority to be home from work every evening to be part of this family time. We emphasize prayer and conversations about God as we get our children ready for bed. We make Sunday morning a priority by intentionally planning to be home early and well rested on Saturday evening.
My point is that you have to model the values you want to instill in your kids. If you tell your kids how important it is to be in church and serve, but then let anything and everything take priority over that, they will get the picture. They will understand that church is optional so long as nothing else comes up. And one day they will do the same, perhaps to a greater degree by only attending church occasionally, or at holidays.
I can’t imagine standing before Jesus one day and trying to explain why I let baseball, brunch, and late night movie premiers keep me from being faithfully committed and actively engaged in my church. As cliché as it may sound, we could all benefit at times from simply asking; “What would Jesus do?” Would Jesus skip church for sports? Would Jesus really miss serving to have a family picnic? Do we have a picture from Scripture of Jesus prioritizing anything above being in the temple growing, learning, teaching, and serving? I don’t see it.
If anything, I see in Jesus the example that my faith and my service should take the greatest priority over anything else because it is the only thing that will last eternally. Days of city-league baseball and Girl Scouts are temporary, but serving my church and growing my faith will reap eternal benefits. Faithfulness and commitment in these areas are something I definitely want to model for my kids
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