A while back, I read a book on parenting. The author is a pastor and he mentioned a couple (unnamed) who attended his church. After a while, he noticed that none of their kids attended their designated Sunday School classes or were involved in other events. The children were always with the parents. Eventually, the pastor reached out to them and to make the long story short, the parents adamantly believed that raising their children was solely their responsibility, not anyone else’s.
If I hadn’t known more about their story, I might’ve agreed with the parents completely. But the pastor went on to say that after a while, the whole family just stopped coming to church.
Now, before you tune me out, please keep reading.
“Trust is to human relationships what faith is to gospel living. It is the beginning place. The foundation upon which more can be built. Where trust is, love can flourish.”Barbara Smith
What did those parents lack?
They failed to trust the Sunday school teachers that would teach their children, the youth pastor who could encourage their teen in the Lord, and friends who were like-minded.
If you are to Make Today Matter, you must first have a new heart and second, you must trust others.
I have read about and heard many stories of people who have lost their confidence and trust in others and I can’t blame them for the most part simply because, we want to have people we can depend on. But whether you’ve lost your trust in others or are heading down that road, may I encourage you today?
Jesus had a disciple that betrayed Him, a disciple that denied Him three times, and another who doubted Him. And to top it off, all of the disciples deserted and fled when He was hanging on the cross.
If there was anyone that should have lost His trust in others (and rightfully so), it would be Jesus. Can you imagine? The people who were designated to help change the world were the ones that in the world’s standard would be far from “qualified”?
But Jesus followed through. He still fulfilled the will of His Heavenly Father so that we can have a way to go to Heaven. (John 6-7)
Ok. So if you haven’t gotten it yet, I’m really passionate about getting that new heart because without it, the rest of this may not make sense.
In my previous post, we learned that Making Today Matter is a daily choice and one that requires choosing wisely.
Today, I want to focus on Making Today Matter Through Others or simply, Relationships.
Do you remember the story at the beginning about the parents who lacked trust? I don’t know where they are at now but I learned one thing from them – God will put the people necessary in my children’s life so that they can fulfill the purpose that God made them for. Therefore, I don’t need to carry the weight of raising my children all on my own.
You see, relationships are vital! Without them, we wouldn’t be and we couldn’t be. (You read that right)
Without our grandparents, our parents wouldn’t be here.
Without our parents, we wouldn’t be here.
Without our teachers, we wouldn’t know arithmetic or English.
Without our mentors, we would possibly be headed down the wrong path or worse, already on it.
Without Adam and Eve, we would not exist.
God established relationships.
Can you imagine if he had just created Adam?
Uhm… that would be sad! But no, God was so kind to make Eve out of Adam so that they can have a relationship with each other and in turn have a relationship with God.
As parents, we may worry that our kids might have the wrong friends…but from my childhood experience, that commonly happens when we as parents aren’t doing the job of nurturing, admonishing, and loving our children. Gary Chapman said when we as parents fail to love our children and make them feel loved, they will look to other people or things that can meet that great need of theirs.
So what now? Judy, you tell me all this stuff but what am I supposed to do? I am so glad you asked, my friend! Lol!
Here are some questions to help you:
1. Do I have a relationship with my Creator? Do I know Jesus in my heart or in my head? Was there a time when I personally accepted Him as my Lord and Saviour? If not, what is hindering me from making this important decision?
2. How is my relationship with my spouse? Have I been the wife that my husband needs? Do I build him up or tear him down? Do I complete him or compete with him?
3. How is my relationship with my children? Do my children know that they are loved and appreciated? Do they FEEL loved and appreciated? Am I forgiving when they mess up? Do I apologize when I mess up?
4. How do I treat others? Do I listen more and talk less or vice verse? Am I understanding or impatient? Do I forgive or hold grudges? Do I love unconditionally?
Your answers to those questions are between you and God. In fact, He already knows the answers. But based on your answers, how would you rate your standing in those relationships – 1 being, “I really need help” and 10 being, “No help needed here!”
I believe we can all agree that none of us can say we are a 10 and therefore, we all need help; some, more than others, but help, nonetheless.
If you are truly serious about Making Today Matter, then you have got to build relationships and nurture the ones you already have.
We live in a world where Christianity is still a minority. How are we and our children to “reach the world” if we don’t even know who our neighbors are, our mailman or mailwoman, our school bus driver, etc.?
I can’t pass up this opportunity to recognize and praise my husband because he was the one that opened my eyes to this truth.
When I was newly saved, I was pumped! I wanted everyone and anyone to know and accept the good news that I recently experienced. But sadly, the ones closest to me were the ones who criticized me and rejected the free gift that I wanted to share with them. Eventually, my relationship with my family grew stale and I withdrew and avoided family gatherings that I knew wouldn’t “measure up” to my new standard of living. It took years for me to restore those relationships and what I did not realize til later was that I was just hurting the name of Christ.
You see, when Jesus died, He died for every person, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, position, occupation, etc. So when we read the accounts of Jesus eating with publicans and sinners, He was merely showing them His love for them, in spite of who they were. He did not agree with their sin, but still chose to build a relationship with them for the sole purpose of their choosing to believe in Him.
“It is hard to love others, and show the gospel to them, when we are angry at them, or hating on them. Anger and hate are not the way of Jesus.”Matt Brown
“Jesus was a friend of sinners not because he winked at sin, ignored sin, or enjoyed light-hearted revelry with those engaged in immorality. Jesus was a friend of sinners in that He came to save sinners and was very pleased to welcome sinners who were open to the gospel, sorry for their sins, and on their way to putting their faith in Him.”Kevin Deyoung
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 KJV)
Friend, YOU CAN MAKE TODAY MATTER. Don’t be like those mentioned above; make your relationships count. Loving others and trusting those whom God has placed in your life is a great way to make today matter.
I praise the Lord for the many teachers, mentors, friends, and loved ones whom God has placed in mine and my husband’s lives and in turn, in our children’s lives. We would not be able to raise our children on our own. If you don’t already have one, find a home church that you can raise your children in. Our closest and greatest friends all attend church with us. We are taught the same Bible lessons, we hear the same sermons, and we minister to the same people. I am so grateful that my children not only have a mom and dad who can teach them about Jesus, but they have mommy’s and daddy’s friends who can also teach them about Jesus.
Praying for godly influences in your children’s lives is a great way to make today matter through others.