Lies of the World: On Power, Position, Parenting

Choose the lower place

As I’ve been reading about great Christian men and women throughout history, the story of a monk named Anslem struck a chord.

He became convicted that he was to spend his life in service to God as a monk. When he did, he considered where he was to serve. He knew that if he served where there was a great leader (LaFranc), that he was going to be not revered for his knowledge and abilities so he considered other monasteries.

He then became convicted of his pride and realized that Jesus Christ chose a position in society where he too was not revered for his knowledge and abilities. He chose to be the least among men as a poor carpenter’s son. Anslem chose the monastery where he would be considered the least.

The Lie of Power and Position

When I read “Swim with the sharks without getting eaten alive” by Zig Ziglar I learned a lot. There are some principles, however, that may not gel with my Christian walk.

One principle I remember was to “pick your predecessor.” If you came after a person who did poorly, you would stand out as someone who would shine. However, if you came after a person who excelled, you were sure to fail. I don’t think I agree with this from a Biblical perspective.

From the world’s perspective this makes very real, very practical sense. However, in retrospect, I see how this has caused me to make decisions that were more focused on “how I look” than on “what God wants.”

To take the lowly place

When moving back to my hometown I struggled with the fact that I’m just another person and all the accolades of college and business mean nothing here. My selfishness made me want to “be somebody” and prove the kids that hurt me in gradeschool wrong.

Where is one least respected than in one’s own hometown? They remember you in diapers, many cannot see you as otherwise and although I’m 36, I’m still treated as a child by some. Look at Jesus in His hometown:

Mark 6:3
Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.

Our desire to be “exalted”

We all want to be “exalted” by others. It is a false self importance of flesh that continually wants us to think of the world from only our own perspective. However, from God’s perspective I believe I am where he wants me. I am his to abase or to abound. I do not “deserve” to be recognized as anything other than a servant of Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

Bragging Rights will turn upside down.

Sometimes I’m tempted to “brag” on the salary I used to have, the positions of power and title I had way back when and the accolades I received in college. However, at the end of time those things will be but rubbish. I think the Vacation Bible Schools, Sunday Schools, and Girls in Action meetings will be higher on the list.

Things will be reversed.

· Matthew 20:16
So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”

We see a little of that during tax time. During the year when we write our tithe check, we are grateful and appreciative, but it is still hard to write that check. However, during tax season sometimes I wish I had given more. I’m grateful for every check, every penny given. I think that is how it will be at the end of time.

Perhaps then we will recall the salary we used to have, the positions of power and title, and the accolades received in college, we will bemoan the efforts we gave towards those things as we pared down our contribution to God’s kingdom.

How the judgement will change things.

Every extra night we spent at the office will mean less as we see the lines form of the saved and unsaved at the last judgment.

Every extra night spent in God’s service teaching, working, laboring for Him will mean more.

And if I should see one of my children in the line with the unsaved, everything in my life will truly be rubbish for I will have failed at that job which was most valuable to me for all of eternity.

I will give my life and all I have in order that my children will know Jesus Christ. All of this means nothing if they have not learned to follow the Master and know Him as Savior and Lord.

The Parental Wake Up Call

All parents will give their very bodies to protect their children.

  • Why then do we not place more value on their eternal souls?
  • Why do we spend our money giving them every vacation they could dream of and do not worry where they will live for eternity?
  • Will all the weekends at the beach make a difference in eternity?
  • Will time at the lake keep them from the lake of fire?

I fear that parents, myself included, need a wake up call. As I’ve struggled with my daughter’s sickness, I know that there are no guarantees that she make it to adulthood. Adults mistakenly say “there is plenty of time.” We are not guaranteed more time so we must enjoy the present. We must also make use of the present. For only Jesus will walk with our children through the valley of the shadow of death. We do not know when that will come. It is our job to introduce them now!

Give kids what they truly want

I think as parents we spend our time and effort giving our kids what WE want, not what they want! They want happy, unhurried parents. They want a homecooked meal at night with the family. They want a daddy who laughs and a Mom who can help them on their school projects. They want you to come to their games and work in their Sunday School class.

They don’t want you to give in to their temper tantrums because you’re tired. They want discipline because they know there are things out there that will hurt them. They want the security of knowing you will protect them from evil and from themselves.

As a teacher, it hurts me to see that many kids are being raised as “spoiled brats!” There parents give them everything but time.

What shall we do?

Read God’s word to your children. Let them hear you talk about it. Pray over your children daily. Ask for God’s guidance in helping them grow up in Christ. Let them see you read your Bible and find you on your knees as the sun rises. No, none of these things guarantee that your child will follow Christ. But the odds are much less if you do nothing. This is the most important thing you will ever do!

Show love with your actions.

That is why I gave up a six figure job, prestige, and power to be a stay at home mom. And I am much richer for it.

I am a teacher now, but still immersed in raising my children on a daily basis. And I am much richer for it. I am living my life with no regrets in the best way that I know how. Seeking wisdom from my Lord who knows more than me, who made me, and who loves me.

Is life perfect, no it is tough! But I’m spared the inner conflict I used to feel each morning as I cried my way to the office after leaving my first born at daycare. That was truly hell on earth!

What you do is what you believe.

There is what you say and what you do. What you do is what you believe.

You can tell your spouse “I love you more than my work.” But if you continually come home after dark when she is sound asleep, you are a liar. If your work demands too much of you, find another job. (The perpetual “I have no choice.”) It is better to have another job and make less money than to compromise the wife of your youth.

I think that is why older people cry when they see their children and grandchildren.

They see these little grandchildren hungering for more time with Mom and Dad and Mom and Dad mistaking money for love. Children would rather be poor in money and rich in time with Mom and Dad than otherwise. If we are pursuing riches, it is for ourselves not our children. They want us.

Test God according to the promises in His word, you will find Him faithful. We have.

A caveat

Money is not evil. God blesses some people to have money for His purposes too. The worship of money is evil. Pleasure is not evil. The worship of pleasure is evil. Television is not evil. The worship of television is evil. Sleep is not evil. The worship of sleep is evil. Being in a powerful position is not evil. The worship of a powerful position is evil.

We worship things we put above God.

Things we do instead of going into His house. Things we do instead of reading His Word. Things we do instead of raising the children.

Exodus 34:14
(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

Exodus 20:3
“You shall have no other gods before Me.

Lord, I pray for the parents and grandparents who are struggling with raising children. We are so afraid to make a mistake that will harm them forever. But with your forgiveness and work in their lives, you can make good things out of their lives. You can bless their lives. You can smooth over our imperfections with the perfection of our love. For we are all your children and joint heirs with Christ. Let us follow you and lead our Children in your ways, forsaking the ways of the world. In Jesus name. Amen.

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