My children are 8, 9, 11, and (almost) 13. If you have children in this range, you know how many sports and activities are vying to steal our family time. All good things! Sports teach our kids to value teamwork, healthy competition, physical exertion, hard work, sportsmanship, authority outside of the home… Other activities teach our children a skill or encourage their growth in leadership like music, art, various clubs, or student council. Still more are church activities like Awana or youth group, usually taking place mid-week.
As a parent, how am I to raise a well-rounded child who excels at a sport, plays an instrument well, has highly developed leadership skills, and by the way-loves the Lord?
Re-read that question. Is this you? Are you weary because you want your children to be perfect – or at least the best – at everything? In this whirlwind of “good” activities, I’m reminded of the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10.
As Jesus entered a village, a woman named Martha invited Him to stay with her. I’m sure many of us can relate to Martha… Jesus. JESUS. was AT HER HOUSE. Of course, she wanted everything to be perfect. She wanted to make the perfect meal, and be the perfect hostess; not letting anyone’s glass fall empty. Her sister, on the other hand, simply sat at the feet of Jesus, listening. We can all feel Martha’s resentment, can’t we? She was doing all the work, while her sister just sat and did nothing. She was so angry that she outright told Jesus to command Mary to help her. Can you even imagine?
Listen to Jesus’ sweet reply from the NLT: “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
Listen, if your child loves soccer and music and chess and art, and keeping that schedule doesn’t take away from your time with God or make you resentful, then, by all means, do those good things. But I have talked to a lot of moms who are weary and stressed and have no time with the Lord because of a schedule they think is necessary for raising great kids. This is a trap. A trap set up by a scheming enemy who knows the heart of a mom. He knows our temptation to compare. He knows our temptation to want the world for our kids. He knows our temptation to put ourselves last. And he knows our temptation to put off time with the Lord.
In Matthew 6:33 Jesus says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Sweet sisters, if in the end, our children love the Lord with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength…what else matters? If our children glorify God with their lives, could we have done a better job? It starts with our own relationship with Him being our priority.
As my family and yours create a fall schedule, my prayer is that we will focus on the one thing worth being concerned about. That we would seek Him first, and watch the rest fall into place.