Children And Parents

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Malachi 4:6 – He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. (NIV)

A friend of mine was preaching recently, and his text was on John the Baptist. He made the connection between the words in Luke 1:17, "turn the hearts of the fathers to their children", and today's verse in Malachi. I had never noticed before this aspect of fatherhood. Something within said that there is a danger, where parents are too busy for their children, that it can have effects on the family and on the society both present and future. The sins of the parents will be visited on the children, a self-fulfilling prophecy for the people, with a curse as a consequence for the land.

I talked to my wife about this thought, and, in reply, she mentioned an article in her magazine, entitled something akin to "How to be a mother in 60 minutes a day." It raised the question in my heart, why are we so keen to have families, and yet not give them the priorities given in scripture? Yes, we need money to live but at what a cost?

Jesus was keen to receive the small children, and wants us to come to Him with the uncluttered and wholehearted faith of children. They are important to Him because they are just the same in spirit as those of us who are older, in a more capacious container. Why then is the bus-I-ness (i.e. being too busy for too long) of work creating an acceptability of absenteeism from our families, that is in danger of consuming our society?

I think about my own parenthood. How has this been influenced by my history? How, in turn, am I influencing, have I influenced, my children? How will this influence my children's children?

Matthew 18:3 – And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (NIV)

Prayer: Lord, I thank you that you do not treat us as our sins deserve because we come to you in the name of Jesus the Christ. Deliver us from the evil of being too busy for our loved ones. Thank you that you are never too busy for us. We bring before you our children, and their children also, that they may see your love in the world that we are passing on to them. Grant that we may live as good examples of a right balance between worship, work, and play in our lives. Heal those of us who have hurts and burdens that we carry with us, which make us too busy to be able to care. In the name of Jesus, we ask you, Lord, to redeem the land that we live in, and teach us to cherish it. In our time, deliver us from this curse of bus-I-ness. Amen.

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Rod Marshall <>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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