Yesterday, I wrote a little about how we take account of our children when it comes to ministry. You can read that post here. I was really looking at the question of what is an acceptable sacrifice (or even if such things prove to really be sacrifices in the end) when it comes to thinking of our children and where we serve in ministry.
I did allude to the fact that children’s work and youth ministry can be good and helpful. Indeed, I said so using those exact words. But I want to reiterate again, I am not saying children’s work and youth ministry are wrong or bad. I was making an entirely different point and noting some important implications. Nevertheless, I do stand by all that I wrote in the post.
A follow on point from what I was saying yesterday is that often what appears to make sense to us is not what the Lord may see as important. You only need to have a rudimentary understanding of the Old Testament to see the kind of people the Lord used, and the ways and contexts in which he used them, to get the point. Very few of the so-called biblical heroes are naturally the people anyone would pick. The times when Israel did try to do that – most notably Saul – it was a total disaster.
When it comes to our children, I reckon something similar is at play. What may seem right to us on paper may not be what the Lord would call us to do. Some of the calculations we make about our children – the youth ministry, the sunday school, whether other kids are in the church – all seem to make a lot of sense on paper. There is certainly nothing wrong with any of those things. But what might appear to us to be best for our kids may not be what the Lord considers best.
I don’t intend to say a lot more than I did yesterday. Only to say, whilst we so frequently look at the outward – and apparently obvious – appearance, the Lord may have other intentions and plans. What we might consider less than excellent, the Lord may specifically be seeking to use for the good of our children. What we might consider to be brilliant on paper may not be all that it cracked up to be. Our calculations about these things are so often not the Lord’s.
Whether you buy what I said yesterday or not, I think we can free ourselves from some of the knots we get ourselves into anyway. If we truly believe in the sovereignty of God, surely we can factor in where the Lord might be calling us into his sovereign will for us and our children. If God is sovereign over all, the church that on paper might not be where we would necessarily choose for our children can surely be seen as the place the Lord would have us be. If we are seeking to make godly and God-honouring choices in where we go, if we really believe in God’s sovereignty, surely the youth ministries and others our kid’s ages can fall where they may?