Have you ever gone on a short-term mission trip? During these trips there is a quick window of opportunity that you grab and encourage people with the gospel of Jesus Christ knowing that you will be gone in a few days or weeks. Each day has focus and the minutes count.
My children are well into their 30s now and raising them seemed as short as my trips to Peru and Mexico. Paul’s exhortation just before Ephesians 6:4 is, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (5:15-16)
In bringing your children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord is to approach each day like a short-term mission trip. You need to see yourself as a missionary whose goal is that your children will one day become your brother or sister in Christ. The greatest wisdom I can give my children is not how to be successful in life, but is the wisdom of the cross that gives eternal life.
The gospel’s message is that my child’s greatest need is not that they conform morally but that their hearts are changed by the power of God through the gospel. So what is it to discipline and instruct them in the Lord? Paul gives us a clue in his prayer to the church in Ephesians 3, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV)
Fathers, may your children know such love and glory through your teaching and example.
Happy Fathers Day!