DAY 3 - THE MINISTRY OF PARENTING
When we hear the word “minister,” we commonly think of a pastor or person who works for a church. But the word includes more than those descriptions?
The word minister is derived from the Greek word diakonos which means a servant.
Minister - (noun) A servant or waiter, one who oversees, governs and fulfills.
Minister - (verb) To adjust, regulate and set in order; to serve, render service to another; to labor for the Lord as a servant.
So how does this apply to us as Christian parents? It means that we are under the care and authority of Jesus Christ, who is one with God the Father, and that we receive our instructions from Him. God has given us our children and He desires for us to execute His purposes as we raise them. You and I are ministers over our children, under God. This mindset should completely change our disposition and approach to parenting.
As parents, depending totally on the Lord Jesus Christ is essential. We are not to promote our own will and wishes, but we are responsible to follow the Lord’s will and desire in raising our children. Matthew 20:28 (King James Version) says, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister…” The same verse in the New King James reads, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” Clearly, ministering and serving are the same, and Jesus is our example. Do not mistake “serving” as the worldly view of indulging children, but serve by raising them according to God’s instructions. In serving, we also are not to be harsh with our children, but model the loving kindness of the Lord. When we begin to see parenting as serving God and ministering to our children for His purposes, we are headed in the right direction.
Read the following Scripture describe in your own words how Paul and his companions ministered to people. What attitudes did they display?
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”
THE RIGHT BLUEPRINT
As ministers of God, we must know His purposes, what He wants us to accomplish and how we are to proceed. Understanding His purposes helps us recognize our daily need for God’s wisdom and strength.
Purpose - means an intended, or desired, result or goal.
If two hundred parents are asked what they believe God’s purpose is for them as ministers and parents, it will likely produce many different answers. This is an indication of the lack of unity between husbands and wives in this area. To a certain extent, this is the problem: when two people with the same task are going in different directions, confusion results. And the Bible shows us that this is not God’s plan!
1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace.”
Regrettably, the body of Christ has not given preference to training or discipling people in parenting. Many churches have never conducted a parenting class! During our teen years, we undergo fifty hours or more of training to get a driver’s license, yet how many hours of training is required for parenting children? None! Which is more important, driving a car or raising children? The answer is obvious. And due to that lack of training, many parents, even Christian parents, can be a very negative influence on their children, more even than that of the world.
Counseling Christian families in distress has revealed that, in most cases, it is not music, drugs, or influences at school that most affect children – it is what occurs within the four walls of home. Of course, these couples did not marry and decide together that “we want to mess up our kids.” It results when two people are just doing things their own way, with no firm foundation to build on, and no common wisdom to guide them. What happens when a husband and wife disagree and are not clear in their God-given purposes? Problems arise followed by tension, strife, and division. This, in turn, puts a strain on marriage and family, which is a devastating problem today in the body of Christ.
In Matthew 12:25, Jesus revealed a self-evident truth:
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”
Take time right now to write out a prayer. Ask God, as husband and wife, to give you the grace to begin again with your parenting. Ask Him for the mercy to forgive each other for past mistakes, and for not working in harmony while parenting your children and to open your hearts to receive His instruction and work together as a team.
Read the following Scripture meditating on the attitudes that God desires for us:
Colossians 3:12-16 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
It is clear that the foundation for all we do must be an understanding of the purposes and plans that God has for us. This will be the topic of the following section. Once we embrace God’s authority, it is essential to follow through in practical ways. God is the architect, but it is our job to build the house according to His blueprint. When we understand what God is trying to do through us, and within us, when we follow His design, we then understand why it is so vital that we have a right relationship with Christ.
Read the following verse and in your own words, explain how this verse can relate to you as a parent/minister.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”