In a newsletter of sorts that we got in the mail from a local church, addressed simply to “Resident,” there was a short story tucked off to the side of one page, and it made my heart hurt. It read:
One Event: Two Accounts
In the diary of Brooks Adams is a note about a special day when he was eight years old. He wrote, “Went fishing with my father; the most glorious day of my life.” Through the next forty years, there were constant references to that day and the influence it had on his life. Brooks' father was Charles Francis Adams, Abraham Lincoln's ambassador to Great Britain. He also had a note in his diary about the same day. It simply said, “Went fishing with my son; a day wasted.”
Talk about different perspectives! What must have happened that day? What was it that Brooks found so wonderful? Doubtless simply spending time with his father. Why did Charles count the day a loss? He probably let loftier thoughts cloud his mind as he fished with his son.
The time we spend with children, whether they're our own or not, is more important than we realize. I can't remember how many times I've heard that it's not the physical gifts that kids remember when they're older; like little Brooks, it's the time invested in their young lives that really helps to shape them. And as time is a precious commodity for all of us, that makes it that much more important that we make a point to make them our focus for a while.
We're helping to lay the foundation for the next generation. Those little eyes and ears are seeing and hearing more than we know, and our true priorities shine through no matter how hard we push the “do as I say, not as I do” philosophy.
Our center must, of course, be Jesus Christ, as in Luke 10:27—
“Love the Lord your God with
all your heart... soul... strength... and mind...”
When we love Him with all we have and are, everything else in life will fall into place.
Don't underestimate the time you spend with your children or any young one. Use whatever chance you have to show Jesus. He had a soft spot for kids:
“But Jesus called the children to him and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.'”
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones.
For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. “
When William starts to get fussy and I start to get frustrated because I feel like I can't get anything done, I try to stop and ask myself, Can this wait just another half-hour? Usually it can. I hated it after he was born when people would give me the advice to put off chores to spend time with him. But there are only so many days a pile of dishes can sit in the sink before you run out of clean ones! (Case in point: I was late in submitting this entry because of taking care of the baby!)
As Ashley wrote, the mission field begins in the home, and your time is not wasted on these young ones.
What do you remember most about your time with adults when you were a child?
Do you trust God with your whole heart in your mission field?
See you in the round!
*Scripture quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.