Friday, March 11, 2011

My Children are not an Excuse

I was thinking the other day about how many times I have observed parents using their children as an excuse to not do something or how many times I've done the same exact thing with Buddy or Sweetpea.  I couldn't help but think, "my children are not an excuse!". 
Our goal as parents should be to fit our children into our lives and the ministry that God has called us to, not to revolve our lives around our children and their activities.  One of the most frustrating "excuses" I hear for someone not coming to Wednesday night or Sunday night church is, "It ends too late for my children".  I am a pretty stern stickler for bedtimes most nights but on Sunday and Wednesday nights, Sweetpea and Buddy's bedtimes are a little later.  I will not, cannot, and should not let bedtime interfere with going to church.  Even though sleep is important for children, learning that worshiping God comes first and foremost, regardless of the cost, is a much greater lesson in life.  Buddy knows that Sundays and Wednesdays are "church days" and we prepare accordingly.  I try to have our laundry finished for the week by Saturday night because it makes Sunday a day of rest (or Sabbath ~ A commandment, not suggestion!) even more so.  We also plan quick and easy meals for those days, that way the kids can go to bed quickly when we get home.
I may be stepping on some toes but I think that as parents raising children in a culture that prides itself on being busy, overworked and under-appreciated, we need to be even more involved in our local churches and start serving as an example of Matthew 6:33 or seek first God's kingdom and righteousness and He will set your life straight (Jon's paraphrased translation).  Instead of using young children as a reason not to serve, our children can serve right along with us and learn valuable lessons in the process.  For example, in the past, Jon and I both served on the praise team and there were early morning practices that Buddy attended with us.  Yes, it meant waking him up early and bringing breakfast and lots of toys to play with; but he now sings dozens of hymns and praise songs (from memory) that I know he first heard us sing in rehearsal.  I also know that there were blessings that I would have missed out on (Moses anyone?!?!) if I had chosen the "easier" route and stayed home with Buddy. 
As parents, let us set the example for our children of Godly priorities and stop using them as a reason to not be involved in our local churches!  Ephesians 4 reminds us that we need to be found worthy of the holy call that God has placed on our life.  Maybe our worthy walk should start with this.