Good parenting is not a sacrifice, although it certainly does involve some sacrifice.
Sacrifice is giving up something that you want to keep in order to get or do something else or to help someone. It is usually used in a bit of a negative way, almost like a form of suffering.
For example, we suffer many sleepless nights as we give up our sleep to care for our children, or we give up that new car we want, so we can provide for the needs of our children.
A better perspective of parenting is to think of it as an investment.
We aren’t losing anything (or giving up anything) when we invest in our children. We are exchanging temporary things like our time and energy for eternal treasures in heaven.
Think of it in terms of money. When we invest $500 in a CD for 15 years, we look forward to the extra money we will get as a return on that investment. However, when we give that money to the bank, we get NOTHING at the time except a paper saying we have deposited the money. We know the return will come later.
And so it is with parenting.
We work hard to teach and train our children, investing our time, effort, and energy. Often there is no visible immediate return for that investment. However, we know that the “return on our investment” is coming, because we are investing in thingsn of eternal value. We aren’t losing.; we are gaining.
Our children are the only treasures we can take with us to heaven. Christian parenting is a life of investment, not sacrifice!
So what should we be investing in our children in order to reap eternal rewards?
1. Our time
To have the most influence on our children, we need to spend time with them. We need to do things with them, and live a life before them that will point them to Christ. The more time we invest in them, the greater our influence will be.
If we want to influence our kids for eternity, we need to purposefully spend time with them. Kids become like the people they spend time with, so this is a very important investment that we should make in their lives.
One of the best things you can do to influence your kids for God, is make a commitment to pray for them on a daily basis. Prayer moves the heart of God, and is one of the most powerful ways you can invest in them for eternity.
We should start praying for our kids before they are even born, and never quit praying for them even when they are adults. Prayer is power, and God invites us to access that power for our children.
Praying Scripture for our kids is the most powerful way to pray, because as we speak God’s Word back to Him we are bringing that power right into their lives. His Word has power that our words don’t have, and will change their hearts and lives.
If you want to get serious about praying Scripture for your kids, I invite you to go through our Praying Biblical Virtues For Our Children 30 day Prayer Journal. Another option is our Praying Through Proverbs For Your Children ebook. This book will guide you as you pray through the book of wisdom one chapter a day for your kids.
If you don’t pray for your kids, WHO WILL?
3. Teaching and training
It is our job as parents to bring our kids up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We are to talk of His Word as we walk, sit, stand, etc. In other words, we should be teaching the about God and His Word ALL THE TIME. This takes time and energy, but it is our job as parents.
Don’t make this harder than it is. Have intentional times when you teach them God’s Word, and memorize it together. Have planned times when you train them in Godly character. Then through out the day just talk of Him and apply His Word to things that come up.
For example, when you outside and see a bird remind your kids that God made the birds. When you tell your kids you love them, remind them that God loves them too. When they need correction, show them what His Word says about that behavior.
It should just be a natural thing to teach and train them in His Word daily. What a powerful investment, which God promises will prosper, and not return void. He guarantees a return on this investment. (Isaiah 55:11) What a great way to invest in things that are eternal!
As you invest in your kids in these three ways, keep in mind that the results (dividend) probably won’t be immediate. Once in awhile you may see little bits here and there, but remember that you are investing NOW because of that expected return. Stay faithful and God will bless your efforts.
I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to be in heaven with me, so I am willing to invest in their lives even when I’m not seeing much of a return. God promised the return, so that means that I should stay faithful with my investing, while leaving the results to Him.