Summary: This is a short sermon on raising children, on parenting

We are beginning a sermon series on Proverbs. I was going to call it “The High Way of Wisdom” because the book of proverbs uses that image: there is a wise path and a foolish path to follow in life.

Proverbs 16:17 “The highway of the upright avoids evil;

he who guards his way guards his life.”

But I like the phrase: Proverbs for Life. Our culture, like all cultures, are full of proverbs, little sayings that help interpret life. There are ancient Chinese proverbs and dutch proverbs placed on plaques in kitchens. Advertisers love to create or use or twist a proverb in order to sell something. During the next few months, email me or bring in a copy of your favorite non-Biblical proverbs (please translate the ones that are in a foreign language).

Proverbs are sayings that are true, that are grounded in the reality of life, that reveal a truth about life, about living life.

I have a list of favorites (I’ll show one a week): Here’s for this week’s:

“If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.” Proverbs 27:14.

What makes these proverbs “Proverbs for Life” is that they are God’s own. Next week we’ll spend some time getting the big picture of the book. Today we are going to look at one of the chief concerns of biblical proverbs: children. In fact, proverbs are really written for the benefit of our children:

Proverbs 2:1-10

My son, if you accept my words

and store up my commands within you,

2 turning your ear to wisdom

and applying your heart to understanding,

3 and if you call out for insight

and cry aloud for understanding,

4 and if you look for it as for silver

and search for it as for hidden treasure,

5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD

and find the knowledge of God.

6 For the LORD gives wisdom,

and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

7 He holds victory in store for the upright,

he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

8 for he guards the course of the just

and protects the way of his faithful ones.

9 Then you will understand what is right and just

and fair--every good path.

10 For wisdom will enter your heart,

and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Introduction: This is a short sermon on raising children, on parenting. I have several books on Christian parenting, a few on child development from college. Look at your book store and you will see dozens of books on parenting. In 20 minutes we are going to touch just the tip of the iceberg of good and godly parenting.

Actually, forget the iceberg image, we are going to zoom in on the foundation, get to the core of the issue: What parenting is all about? What is our #1 goal for our children? What would cause us someday to sit back, smile, and realize that (though we weren’t perfect parents), we did it right, we succeed?

We all hope our kids end up reasonably adjusted to “normal” life, we hope they’ll be above average in many ways. We hope they get a good job, marry the right person, be HAPPY, be comfortable. Most of us would be proud if our child was a prodigy and became a great musician or writer or scientist. Not many of us complain if our kids “do well” and end up stinking rich.

But is that the #1 goal of parents? Is that the best we can hope for for our kids?

Consider one of the many proverbs told by Jesus: “What good does it do a person if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?”

Consider a mother who is having lunch with her adult son. He is the envy of many of her friends. He’s handsome and successful. He was the first in the family to attend a prestigious college, to land a high profile, high paying job, to become financially wealthy. But when she talks to him, he seems so hollow, so caught up in what isn’t really important. Who cares about the stock market and global trading when your own kids don’t like you, when your two ex-wives hate you, when you don’t have a clue what life is all about? Where did I go wrong, asks this aging mother as she sits across from her “successful” son?

Of all the dreams we have for our kids, none should come even close to our desire for them to attain true wisdom. That’s what proverbs is about.

And wisdom, true wisdom, is found only one place. Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

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