As a guest speaker, Gregg Harris gave the most unusual parenting message I've ever heard yesterday. Being childless, I haven't heard a ton of such messages, but I have listened to my fair share. (I believe we should seek to understand as many aspects of Christian life as possible, even if they aren't part of our current experience--that's why I listen to parenting messages.) What made this message unusual was that Gregg gave nearly the entire sermon before he began to address parenting specifically. All the teaching ahead of it powerfully brought home his three application points.
Gregg spoke from Psalm 127, which is one of the wisdom psalms. As he gave us an overview of biblical wisdom, he said several things that really struck me:
- Obedience is its own reward.
- We are to delight in God's commandments because they are the delivery system for His blessings.
- It's when we doubt God is good that His commands become a burden.
- God is working both sides of the equation: He is preparing us for good works and also preparing good works for us to do.
Then he turned to Proverbs 13:20, which says, "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." This led into the first parenting point: Are you the wise companion? Or is the way you live making your child a companion of fools?
Of all the materials I've read and heard about parenting, I've never heard this question raised in this manner. Until Gregg got to this point in his sermon, I kept wondering why it was titled, "Don't Waste Your Kids." I knew we were in the midst of this "Don't Waste Your [insert topic here]" series, but until this moment it wasn't clear to me how he was going to tie everything to the sermon title. Once he asked it, everything fell into place brilliantly. It's a challenging question.
To hear the other two points, download "Don't Waste Your Life." Even if you don't have children, I encourage you to listen to this message. It's not only a solid message on biblical wisdom, it's a great overview on the goals of discipling the next generation. The most intensive discipling relationship is the parent-child one, but many of us have other opportunities to disciple children -- from formal structures like children's ministry to informal opportunities such as "auntie" relationships. The question of whether we are wise or foolish companions to the children in our lives is relevant and thought-provoking.
(Photo courtesy of Scott Liddell.)