As I was doing my Saturday shopping, I was thinking about how my parents always told us that they wanted “better for us than what he had.” Many parents in earlier generations have said this to their children. Of course, they usually mean things of the world– a better education, a bigger house, a nicer car, a better income, so the children won't have to struggle as much as they did. I understand the sentiment:
I don't want my children to have to struggle the way we did when we were first married:
Living in a house where the foudation shook when Shane walked across the floor.
Shane sitting down to pay bills and dreading it, because he wasn't sure how they were all going to be paid.
Driving old delapidated cars– (imagine, a banged up 1980 ford fairmont 4 door, brown–all except the drivers door that was blue replaced long after you couldn't roll down the window and the inside door latch wasn't working, roll down the back window and reach around, that did not have reverse, so it would have to be parked where we could pull through or use manpower to get it out of the parking spot)
Wearing nothing but thift store clothing (okay, well we still do that most often just because I can't bring myself to spend even $10 on a blouse).
Cutting Shane's hair in the basement to save the $10. And hoping he'd look presentable for work when I was done.
But even more than not wanting my children to have to suffer through these things, I don't want them to suffer by living in the world–not even one minute. I never want them to know the feeling of being drunk and puking over the toilet half the night, of looking for love in all the wrong places, of never being satisfied, of being empty and not knowing why they were alone in this world.
This culture is all about the here and now! About letting our children choose what's right for them! About raising children with no conviction about anything, much less a conviction about Christ. We are told that we need to introduce them to all religions or no religion so they can choose who they will serve.
But what is BETTER for our children? All the stuff? Letting them find “Christ” on their own because we can't “force” it on them. Or, because we can't since we didn't live right?
But Christ IS THE only thing that is better than what we had!
In the end, it won't matter if your child graduated at the top of his class.
It won't matter that they lived in a fine house and drove a fine car.
It won't matter that they wore the best clothes.
It won't matter that they were the best in their business.
But what will matter is:
Were they the best Christians they could be?
Did they love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength?
Did they serve others instead of themselves?
Were they compassionate?
Did they have integrity?
Struggles will come. Always. No matter if you're in the world or a Christian. How you handle the struggles is what matters. Sunday, the Pastor where we visited Sunday quoted from Spurgeon.
“Trials make more room for consolation”
“great hearts are made by great troubles”
Jesus spoke to us in John
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world”
Better for our children is teaching them about the ultimate Peacemaker. Jesus Christ the Son of the One True Living God, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge. It is not giving them more stuff! Or building up their “self-eseem” by telling them how wonderful they are; not that we can't be proud of them and think they're wonderful. But they also need to know that they are fallen, sin filled beings. In need of a Savior. They need to know that the only Savior is Christ. Not Allah or Buddah or BMW or Harvard, or Fancy House in the right neighborhood.
We need to “force” our beliefs on our children. They need to memorize Scripture before they can walk, okay maybe a little early. They need to be taught that God created them in the secret place. This is where “better” comes from. Self-esteem comes from God and God alone. But it is in finding that we are worthless, dust, not in finding about how great we are! None of the stuff matters without this truth. Riches will be destroyed. But our souls will live eternally.
Will you give your children the “best”?