Wednesday, June 8, 2011

thots on parenting ... this is long

Posted by Picasa
Jesus, as He walked this earth, modeled the life we are to live. I love the saying I heard years ago, I cannot remember where:
Jesus Called 12
Graduated 11
And Focused on 3

What does that mean to me? What should my ministry/daily LIFE look like?

Jesus ministered to the multitudes on many occasions. That ministry profoundly changed many lives. But His primary focus was on His disciples. And the way He did this is so instructive. He could have set up a "school" where he had hundreds of students taught in a lecture format. After all, He knew He would only be here for a short time. Wouldn't it be more efficient to teach large numbers of people so they could have a larger influence on more people faster? That's what most experts would probably have recommended.

He didn't do it that way. Instead, He called twelve men to walk beside Him and watch Him live. They "did life" together. They ate together, slept together, walked together, talked together as He trained them to accomplish the purpose He had for them. The entire time they were together, He was influencing them, directly through His Words and indirectly as they observed Him interact with the world. To truly change hearts, <3 it would take intense, focused attention and training. That normally isn't accomplished through "mass production." Complete transformation in His immediate circle would have an exponential effect not possible by a "lesser dose" with a greater audience. So what does that mean for me? I believe my ministry is to focus on a few at a time, those He specifically gives me. It is not a misuse of my time to spend intensive resources on a few for the season He defines. Yes, I can speak into other lives in limited ways as He directs, but if I go out and try to "gather" more than the number He sends, do I risk the impact that He intends me to have on the few? Do I really believe I can "disciple" more effectively than He did? And, here comes the exciting part: for this season of my life my primary focus is on my children. As a mother, I believe I am responsible first and foremost to disciple the children He has made me responsible for. For this season my primary circle of influence is my own kids. As I am focused on these beloveds, He often brings someone to me for a small window of time and the kids get to observe how He asks me to minister to someone else, but the focus of this season doesn't change. All along praying my beloveds are “getting’’ the lesson. The principle of the "seasons" in our life has to provide the filter for our commitments. During the season of parenting, we should not add any responsibilities He does not specifically give us. We can't add something to the life of our family just because it's a "good thing." If it does not enhance our ability to effectively accomplish the main goal of the season we are in, then it is not supposed to be added to that season. My new season has added a daughter in law, loving & guiding as my own. It all comes back to recognizing the primary responsibility for the season of life the Lord has us in. Nothing He calls us to do during that season will damage our ability to faithfully, fruitfully accomplish that responsibility. Anything He does ask of us during that specific season will enhance our ability to accomplish that primary responsibility. So for us, this season of parenting defines our primary ministry. And any ministry opportunities that present themselves must be evaluated and prayed over from that context. If that specific ministry interferes with our parenting, then it is intended for someone else to do, or for us to do in another season of our lives. Intense, intentional focus as parents produces the fruit intended for this season. If I don't get this season right, His ability to use me in the future is diminished because of my lack of faithfulness here and now. Yes, they are older and still my children; with a grand-daughter on the way ~ another generation! We need to ask the Lord to purify our schedules and our commitments. We need to ask Him to help us stay focused on what He has called us to now. To see my child working diligently, trying … I so want to protect and love and guide them all into knowing God is always there for them, He is their Rock & comforter. What season are you in? What is the primary responsibility for that season? Have you taken on things intended for someone else, or for another season? Someone once said years ago that our job is never to expand our ministry. Our job is always to deepen our message. The Lord will expand our ministry in His Perfect Timing for His Glory. What message have I instilled upon their hearts?!!?

Grow deep roots where you are. Grow deep roots so that the fruit He can bear through you is abundant and filled with Life. Your influence, under those circumstances, will be far greater than you can ever imagine. There is always time to wait on Him, to allow Him to teach you well in this season. And, so I wait …

No comments: