Over a little more than a year ago I was invited to attend a ceremony. This ceremony was being hosted by parents for their son. This wasn’t a graduation, he was younger than graduation age, but of a sort was. They asked if I could attend and speak. Due to scheduling conflicts, I was unable to be there physically but responded with a letter to be read if it suited the occasion. This letter helped me to focus on godly parenting and the objective of parenting. Below is the letter that I hope provides perspective for both parents and their children in what ought to be done and pursued in the home. I fear that too many parents are busy to parent their children. Parents have become easily desensitized to the privilege and labor of parenting their children. Slothfulness, selfishness, and unpreparedness run the home led by the parents and the next generation is suffering not based upon what parents have done, but by what they have not done. This is specifically addressed to the parents and their son, but pray that you would discern the applicability of it for your daughters and parenting daughters.
Grace and Peace from God our Father and His Son Christ Jesus our Lord,
Although, I am a distant correspondent with your family, kindred spirits in the Word of God, and kin by the blood of Jesus Christ bridges the earthly distance. I pray therefore these words are not strange, alien, or foreign, but supplement this occasion and moment that should not be taken lightly by you or anyone else who cares to watch and listen.
Biblical adoption was not first, according to our culture and society, the reception of a boy or girl into the family from without, but rather of one’s own son or daughter. This reception or adoption was a ceremonious event recognized and celebrated by most cultures of the world. It was “the appointed time of the father” to enter into a deeper relationship with his/her parents, especially as it related to the family business. The son or daughter would be counted worthy of greater responsibility, greater understanding, and greater service to bear the family’s name. There were certain goals, aims, and objectives that the diligent father and mother set forth to serve as tutor and governor in their children’s lives, preparatory for their future. These goals aims and objectives were essential, simply elementary, yet necessary. When the certain provision was met the time would come when the father and mother would adopt their own child, becoming the sole determiners of their adulthood. Love and obedience would be the two manifest features of this relationship between child and parents. From beginning to end of this rudimentary phase, love was expressed by the parents in their active pursuit of being the primary educators of their children. They functioned as shepherds over the souls of their flock. They thought in advance of the goals, aims, and objectives and the process of reaching them. They prepared for every obstacle they would face at the disobedience of their son or daughter. They made necessary adjustments along the way, all for the development of the child’s being, derived from deep love. The reaching of the appointed time, never forced, only discerned by the father and mother, indicated obedience and honor from the child to his/her parents. Once the time was appointed, expectation and excitement would primarily manifest in those (the father and mother) that would appoint, yet in the son and daughter as well. The child through development and growth, under the guidance of his/her primary educators, began to long for a deeper more mature relationship with his/her parents and all the liberties that would correspond. The worthiness found by the parents indicated worthiness of proper handling of these future liberties and although they knew perfection wouldn’t result, the proper foundation was laid in which to always turn.
_____________, this monumental occasion indicates first, the deep love of your parents toward you. The privilege they took upon themselves to nurture and admonish you the best way any parent could; that is, according to the word of God. They have labored for hours, days, weeks, and years, beyond what you can know, for your good. They have provided for your every need physically and spiritually. They have taken it upon themselves to care for your basic necessities, much more, the care of your soul, the most precious aspect of your being. They have exemplified to you what matters most that you may clearly know what should matter most to you. They have set forth this appointed time with the concern they have for you and this deep love will only grow as you do. They have waited for this time since before the beginning of your entrance into the world and it has only heightened with anticipation.
____________, this event marks your obedience and honour of your parents. They have appointed this time because you have been found worthy. You have taken the great concern to the commandments, rules, and instructions of your parents. You have followed and reached the goals, aims, and objectives of your parents. You have received their correction and their praise. So much you have and so much you are you owe to them – this is the way it was, is, and ought to be. There ought not to be shame in this if there is, but high esteem for following the godly pattern. Expectation and excitement are to be had, specifically anticipation toward your future. This is to parallel the greater relationship that exceeds all earthly relationships, that is, your relationship with God the Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ.
A maturing child that abides faithfully in the instructions of his parents finds joy in what they do. A son finds joy in these things for not only what his parents do, but what they are in and of themselves. A godly son, a godly man, doesn’t forget the instructions of his father and mother. He does not despise them. He has them dwell in the midst of his heart. Therefore, he does not despise the instructions of His heavenly Father, but cries after them, ever wanting more. He sees with a different set of eyes than the eyes of the world, the value of His Father’s Word and its’ result when fulfilled in his life. The merchandise of his Father’s wisdom is better than the merchandise of silver or gold.
_____________, therefore, as a godly man, you are ever to abound in God’s Word. The man of God glorifies the Word of God. It has free course in his mind and heart without hindrance from the outside, for he values and keeps it in the midst of his heart. The man of God knows that he will face obstacles, even greater than what he has already faced. Yet, he understands these are opportunities to be more than a conqueror in them. The man of God knowing he is purified by being identified in Christ presents his body to serve God the Father in Christ. The man of God renews his mind through the leading/teaching ministry of the Spirit by His Word rightly divided. The man of God will not have the knowledge he possesses puff him up, but rather work charity to excel in edifying others. The man of God does not use his manhood to lord it over others and be served, but to, in humble, servant leadership love and serve others. The man of God proves and approves the will of God, by, after learning of his Father’s will, experiencing its’ power in his circumstances. The man of God leans upon the Word of God in all things to learn of its’ effectual power to have it do in and through him that which the Father has designed it to accomplish and fulfill. The man of God bears the fruit of the Spirit, is discrete, has unworldly patience, propagates prudence, and in all things functions as the light of the world, holding forth the word of life. The man of God is stablished, unmoveable because of the resurrection of Christ; his hope is solid and sure. His future eternal inheritance constrains him to press forward through the sufferings of this present time and if so counted worthy, the sufferings of Christ. The man of God is zealous of good works knowing godly good works can only ever be produced by the Word of God and the man of God minding his Father’s things. The man of God is careful to maintain good works, prays without ceasing, rejoices evermore, is content in all things for he brought nothing in this world and it is certain he can bring nothing out. The man of God possesses his vessel in sanctification and in honor, he labors with his hands, leads a quiet and peaceable life, functions as an ambassador for Christ, sets his steps aright, and in whatsoever he does it heartily, as unto the Lord, in the name of the Lord Jesus. The man of God gives thanks in everything. The man of God toward all men is charitable, lives peaceably, does not seek vengeance, and even loves his enemies. The man of God is not overcome of evil but overcomes evil with good. The man of God toward women maintains purity, is chivalrous, protects, and if it be that godly love guides him to a worthy help meet, it gradually grows into a marriage where his kindled love for her ever grows and pursues his bride as Christ does the church.
_____________, what a glorious day!!! Congratulations, may you press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. I leave you with this,
“Be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord”
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.”
Josh Strelecki, Pastor-Teacher
May we see the image of our children and their conformity to Christ’s more precious than the one we see in our smartphones. May we see the value in spending time with them rather always pursuing a break from them. May we understand our highest aim in parenting is to educate them in God’s Word and the application of it – this is first the parents joy, honor, and privilege, which ought not to be supplemental, but primary. Let us not hand them over to the mediums of this world. May we “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Do you do this? Is this your main priority besides your marriage? How much of a priority is it for you? I pray you would search the scriptures to see the grand opportunity and privilege it is and not to take it for granted but to labor fervently.