Those of us who are parents know, or at least should know, that our children are not our own. We are given stewardship of them for 18 years or so, and it is our job to train them to be functioning adults and followers of Jesus. From the earliest age, we read them Bible stories, teach them to pray, tell them about Jesus, and we pray like crazy that they will accept His free gift of salvation as their own.
It was our goal as parents that our kids grow up to passionately love and follow Jesus. We recognized that our kids were not really our kids; they were God’s choice servants that we were entrusted to equip for Kingdom service. In fact, we would tell them on occasion that perhaps God might call them to martyrdom, that in His infinite and good plan, they might be the ones chosen to die for the name of Christ. Nothing would tear our hearts out more than to see our kids die, but nothing would thrill us more than to know they died for the name of Jesus. Our parenting was truly a version of the motto of Eternity Bible College – training people to live and die well.
These thoughts are on my mind today because in just a few hours, we will drive my 22-year-old son to LAX where he will take a one-way flight to Melbourne, Australia. He has no return ticket. None of us are calling this a “trip.” We are using language like “moving to Australia.” Not sure when we will see him again. He may end up using Australia as a jumping off point to do ministry in Thailand, or any of a number of scenarios. We will shed tears. We will miss him. But this is exactly what we raised and trained our kids to do: follow their God wherever He may lead, even if it means hardship and loneliness for us.
Many of you reading this blog today are parents. You love your kids like crazy. You can’t imagine your kids leaving you, or not having them live close by. But they are God’s kids, not yours, and He may have plans for them that take them far away. Let them go. Do not hang on to them and squelch their place in the Kingdom just so you have the pleasure of keeping them close. I have seen many parents do that, and it is so wrong in so many ways. Be a good steward of those precious lives, and teach them to live and die well, for the glory of God, and for the advancement of the Kingdom.