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Sunday, May 1, 2016

On the Lookout

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer's almost here. School's out and the kiddos are no longer charming and annoying teachers. Teachers are rewarded by being with some sweet little ones who are trying to figure out what life is all about. But teachers also have one of the toughest jobs dealing with some heartbreaking examples of neglect and some irresponsible children of irresponsible parents.

Elementary teachers are like many mothers, who can delve into the little worlds of little ones, with all their scrapes and scraps, and then emerge back into the bigger world, almost instantaneously. That's no small skill, as there are happenings among children that are easy to miss.

Parenting is tough, too, and most parents think that they're good parents. Many actually believe that good parenting is basically teaching your children how to survive in this world. What these parents produce are even more cynical copies of themselves--mere survivors who can't see anything except struggles and are on the lookout and are always scheming. Cynicism is the result of seeing only sin and its results, but not the salvation from it.

Unfortunately, life for their children will be hard and unhappy because it will be a series of one crisis after another--just like their "good" parents. Living in the kingdom of God in this fallen world is not simply calling on God to bail you out of one calamity and the next. Yes, life is tough, but that was not God's intention for His beloved humanity. The best way to deal with life is THROUGH the Kingdom of God, not trying to use it as the fire station. The latter view will lead to life of constant cries and crises.

The parable of the tiny mustard seed illustrates our lack of seeing the most wondrous things of all--the kingdom of God in the present. (Mark 4:30-32) There are hidden gems of the work of the Holy Spirit in this temporal life. You've probably experienced His mighty hand. For those who believe that life is simply one struggle after another, it helps to view the Christian life in this world from the proper prospective--reality: you are now living in the early era of eternity.

We Christians should understand that "making it in life" is a ridiculous, empty phrase that cannot be filled. God is not simply going to bless you. He already has. The cross of Jesus Christ has saved you. Focusing on that joyful reality of eternal salvation frees you from blindness to His goodness, and moves you to work to feed your children and take them to church to worship the only One who is eternal. Over time, you will be amazed at the change in your life and your children that will come by faithful weekly worship in a church that rests on God's Word. Troubles will still occur, but they are no longer the crises they once were.

The kingdom of God looks indeed like a mustard seed to us--small and insignificant, but it grows to shade, shelter, and save. Daily struggles will tempt to distort His work in the life of the faith. But bringing your children with you to church every week not only follows our Lord's commandment (Matthew 19:14) but teaches them what life is all about: on the lookout for eternity. Gloria Deo--Glory to God

Timothy Matthew
Living in the Word