Isn’t it important to have goals in life? Should we set one, five and ten year plans and then evaluate ourselves by how we’ve done?
Last week I had lunch with my Pastor and as we sat talking he said to me “what’s the goal?” We had been discussing sports and the ends that parents will go to see their children involved and to achieve a level of “success”. I’m not going to bash participation in sports, because this isn’t just about sports.
You name the activity that we can apply this to; it could be sports, music, or how about education? The answer really does come back to what is the goal, because as I sat there and thought about the discussion shouldn’t this be the ultimate reality?
If I have a desired outcome for myself, or my children, I really should make an attempt at evaluating where this might end up. I’m the father of four girls and none of them have shown a tremendous interest in sports, so I really can’t relate to loading up the old van and carting them off to a practice each and every day but we do have them involved in other activities, that can easily give way to over extending ourselves.
If I ask myself the question above, I should have a goal for what these activities will produce in their lives.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:12-14
Is this the goal?
Don’t skim over this verse today. I think if you have any other goal than this for your children you’ve got a man-centered focus. If you want them to be happy, successful, wealthy, married, live in a certain neighborhood, be close to you, be far from you, no matter what you hold dear, if it doesn’t include this as the primary goal, you are missing the mark. Your priorities are out of order.
You will undoubtedly say to me, “well of course this is our goal for our children, what a ridiculous statement.” Okay, fair enough, but do you live like it? I don’t want to get off track looking into a pragmatic lifestyle that includes Saturday night church so you can attend that special Lord’s Day practice, or the “well it’s only this one Sunday…” that we’ll miss to attend that game, or be part of the prestigious, you name it event. But I don’t want this to be about following a set of rules. Don’t throw me under the legalism bus, because this is not about legalism.
What’s your heart?
Scripture is clear… “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some…” Hebrews 10:25
Churches have had to react to the dismissal attendance of the Lord’s Day gathering just to keep people coming, rather than risk the loss of “business” it’s far more prudent to at least get them in on Saturday then not have them come at all right? I will rhetorically ask the question, but isn’t the first day of the week the Lord’s “Day”? Not just an hour and out, but a full day devoted to worship and rest?
Let me ask question. Would you trade your soul, or your children’s souls for all the riches in the world, or for the pinnacle of whatever activity they participate in?
You and I will of course say, “Absolutely not, and I’m offended you’d even ask that question!” But do you live like it? Do you tell your children that church is secondary to whatever activity you deem most important? Do you tell them by your actions?
When they walk away from any interest in religious activities after they are out of your house will you be surprised? I see too many parents that call themselves Christians that are more than willing to sacrifice their children on the altar of Baal and I’m saddened and burdened by this decision. If we sat down to talk, I’m sure they would have the best of intentions, and they’d probably have a good reason why they think they are doing the right thing. I’m sure of it.
I don’t stand here today as some sort of a self-righteous, hypocrite that wants to beat my chest and say look at how holy I am… because outside of the grace of God I’d be there. I’ve been challenged to consider what it looks like to “really” desire the salvation of my children. I need to consistently resist the “opportunities” that surface, where it just might make sense to avoid a gathering at our church to do something else.
The pressure is consistently there and always pressing in on us.
“Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14
Could the Lord’s word be any clearer? Don’t be fooled into thinking you are offering your children anything better than seeing you humbled and on your knees before the Almighty God each and every opportunity you have to darken the door of your church. Allow them to see you reading your bible and leading them in family worship. Don’t miss the short few years you have to preach the gospel to their hearts, even if they become the best at whatever the flesh might offer them.
I hope someone reading this today will think about what is really important. I sure I hope I will.
“But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (emphasis mine) – Mathew 6:33