Whose Child is This?
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord." 1 Samuel 1:27-28.
Can you imagine how much strength it took for Hannah to come to the realization that her son was really not hers and to actually fulfill her promise to the Lord? I know that most, if not all parents, have that same struggle. We give birth to them and then pour into them with time, laughter, sorrow, joy, sweat, tears and money only to face the reality that they don’t really belong to us.
I began to finally understand the sobering reality, as my three children began to grow and head towards lives of their own, that we as parents are appointed by God as stewards, and not owners, entrusted with God’s gift of children, on loan to us for a time.
Defined: a steward is a person whose job it is to manage or look after another's property.
It logically follows that as appointed stewards of our children it is our job and our calling by God to manage his gift through love while nourishing and nurturing our children in their journey from little ones on their way to adulthood. We commit to accomplish this by dedicating our children to the Lord and instructing, directing, training, correcting, admonishing, disciplining and demonstrating by our words and deeds in all the parenting facets of our lives while raising up our children in the way they should go.
It also struck me, as Jesus illustrated in Matthew 25 in the parable of the talents, that when the Master returned from his trip, he settled up accounts with all of his servants. Those stewards who had invested wisely and with care for the Masters property were praised and rewarded; the one who was fearful and didn’t properly care for what was given to him in stewardship was dealt with in an manner that showed his unworthiness.
As parents we may be tempted or even fearful of linking the relationship between
parenting and stewardship. The two are not just casually related but in fact ordained by
God. It has been said that good stewardship leads to good parenting and visa versa.
The parental choices we make today are every bit as consequential as were the choices made by the stewards who were bestowed talents to invest for their Master.
SETTING THE STANDARD FOR STEWARDSHIP FOR YOUR FAMILY
1. Teach your children to Trust in the Lord
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Play the typical “trust game” with your little ones. That’s where the child stands about 2 feet from the parent (front to back). The child then lets go and “falls” backward. The parent catches the child by the armpits. The first few times, the child will probably want to step back to “catch” themselves but the point is to trust that the parent will catch her and keep her from falling. Then talk about how that game reflects the kind of trust we should have in the Lord. Although we can’t see God we know that he is always with us and watching out for us in all our activities and in all our times of being fearful or doubtful.
Additional scriptures to learn with your children:
Trust and not be fearful Isaiah 12:2
Trust in times of need Psalm 33:20
2. Teach them self control and patience
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Mom and Dad have your kids bake some cookies with you. Set out the individual ingredients on the counter. Then mix them up together to make the cookie dough into cookies and then put them into the oven. Set the timer and stay by the oven and watch as the cookies bake. Talk to your children about what is happening to the dough as it bakes. Ask your child how it feels to wait, and patience with fresh-baked cookies.
Additional Scriptures to learn with you children:
Patient in trials James 1:12
Patient with others Ephesians 4:1-2
3. Teach them contentment and gratitude
I Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
Set up a Thankful Jar. Get a mason jar or receptacle of your choice and once a day or once a day everyone writes or draws something they are thankful for on a piece of paper or index card and place it in in the jar. Then at the end of the week (Sunday might be a good day) take out all the notes and read them together and give thanks to the Lord for all His blessings.
Thankful for God’s daily provisions James 1:17
Thankful in every situation Philippians 4:6
4. Teach them generosity with their time, talents and treasures
Prov. 3:9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.
Time: Spark the desire for giving of their time by providing opportunities for your child to serve others. For example, participate in a food drive, visit a local nursing home, volunteer for a service project as a family, or reach out to a neighbor in need. Through these and similar opportunities your child can experience the joy of giving their time generously.
Talents: Explore the talents and gifts that your child can bless others with. Giving of one’s skills such as sharing their love for reading, gardening, cooking, knitting, playing a musical instrument or singing. Encourage your children to use the gifts and talents that they are passionate about. Since everything we have really belongs to God, we are simply using for God what God has entrusted to us.
Treasure: Teach your children the importance of giving of one’s financial resources to provide aid, food, shelter, or clothing; or learning about giving to the local church of a regular basis. The sum of money given is not as important as the spirit of the gift. Perhaps start a Giving Jar and have your children give the first portion of any monetary gifts they receive from others or have earned from chores to the Lord, a local charity or to support an orphanage.
ENTER THE JOY OF YOUR MASTER
By teaching our children to trust in the Lord, exercise self control and patience, display contentment and gratitude and practice generosity we are fulfilling our duty as stewards of the Lord’s precious children. Through the practice of this stewardship with our children we will prayerfully see them grow to Christian maturity with their own accountability to the Master as partakers in hearing, “Well done good and faithful servant..... enter into the joy of your master (Matt. 25:23).”
And for us as parents, there is no greater joy than this!