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Ephesians 5:15-16 – Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (NIV)
My daughters are now at college, and the house is very quiet. There's an emptiness in my home, but also in my heart. I'm finding it very hard being an empty-nester, even although it's been less than a week since they both moved out.
I feel as though I have more to tell them about the world, but I haven't gotten around to doing it. I keep thinking there's something else that I should have expressed, but I just couldn't find the time or the words. I'd wager that's how every parent feels when their children go out into the world: not enough time, not enough information.
I remember reading Shakespeare's Hamlet at high school. For some reason, I was given the part of Laertes and had to listen to my dad Polonius give his famous speech about what his son should do and what to avoid in the real world. I laughed at old Polonius' exaggerated concerns, but now I'm not so sure.
When I read Paul's words to the church at Ephesus, I recognize some of his feelings, too. He's proud of the church that he helped to establish. He's watched it grow, and now that he's on his way out through his impending martyrdom, he wants to give the church some lasting advice that will help it grow. It just strikes me that Paul's letters aren't so much pastoral. They're really parental.
Perhaps others are facing something similar with children or grandchildren — and wondering what to say or do that will make an impact in their lives. We need to love them and hold them in our hearts. We just need to pray for them and offer our best. In the end, it's all we can do. It's all that we can ever hope.
Prayer: Father God, throughout the ages You have given guidance to all Your people. Sometimes Your advice has been gladly received and dutifully applied, but at other times, Your counsel has been ignored or rejected. Grant us open hearts and minds so that we may be strengthened by Your words and encouraged by Your care. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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