Summary: This sermon deals with having and raising children
Somebody to Love
For the past two weeks, we’ve been talking about marriage. We’ve considered what marriage ought to look like, our roles and how we live into God’s picture for marriage. But the Book of Genesis isn’t just about relationships and marriage, it’s also about families. So today, I want to talk a little bit parenting from God’s perspective.
First, recognize our children are a gift from God. In our Scripture today, it says that God blessed human beings. What was that blessing? Children. Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” So God gave us children to love and to be loved. There is no greater gift than being a parent. Children can be the biggest blessing in life but as any parent knows, they can be the biggest trial of your life. They can bring immense joy and they can bring utter heartbreak. But through it all, they are a gift and blessing from God. I believe that is experienced in three ways. First, by becoming parents, we can see ourselves and humanity from God’s perspective. We can see the joy God receives from us but also the heartbreak, the moments of triumph and of utter disappointment. Second, we were born to love and be loved. Children allow us not only to give love but receive it as well. Third, the blessing of children teaches us that life is not about us. As any parent will tell you, once children come, your life is no longer your own. It’s now about the kids. In a world that pushes us to be self-centered, we need to be reminded it’s not about us! This is why children are a gift and reward.
Second, children are to be the priority in life. There is no higher calling than to be a parent. It is the biggest responsibility you will ever receive and the greatest opportunity for influence on another. I have a calling on my life as a pastor to preach God’s word, to lead God’s church and to teach and equip God’s people what it means to follow Jesus. But parents, I am here to tell you it doesn’t even come close to the importance of the calling we all have to be a great parent to our children. In fact, it’s our first calling. At one point, I told the Ad Council that my family is always going to come first. Some got angry at that and judged me for that. But like it or not, that’s what God wants. I once had a church member proudly tell me they put their work for God first in their life and that their family understood all of the nights they had to be away from home. He was proud of his commitment to God and the sacrifice he made. But when I looked at his life, he was divorced and estranged from his children. His family paid the price. It wasn’t a price God wanted him to pay nor his family chose to pay. Andy Stanley in his book “Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins When Family and Work Collide?” says that every time you make a decision, you’re cheating somebody. So when you say yes to staying late at work or even at church, you just cheated the family. So what should the priorities of a Christian father and mother be? God first. Marriage and family second. Work third and church fourth.
You can’t influence your family if you’re not around and that’s one of our greatest responsibilities and opportunities as a parent. I want you to notice verse 3: “When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image…” Notice that we have moved from Chapter 3 and God’s creation of Adam and Eve in God’s own likeness to now Adam and Eve starting a family. It doesn’t say that their son Seth is made in God’s likeness but that Adam now had a son “in his own likeness, in his own image.” Whether we like it or not, we’re a product of our families. Family makes us who we are. Most of the traits you have are either exactly like one of your parent’s or exactly opposite of one of your parent’s. The older I get, the more I hear and see my parents in the things I say and do. Can anybody relate? This is the power family: it molds and shapes us in who we are and who we become. Parents, instead of just always buying presents, make sure you have presence in your home with your family. God has called you to be a parent, so be present in their life to set up everybody in your family for success. Kids don’t want a perfect parent, but they want and need a parent who is present.