It is the nature of parenting that parents be involved in their children’s lives. Detached parents are ineffective parents. The more involved the parents, the healthier the parent-child relationship. We do not generally accuse parents of young children of being too involved in their children’s lives. A child’s life and development are the parents’ business.
But as children approach adulthood that relationship changes. And as Christian parents, it is not always easy to make the shift from total involvement to measured and wiser involvement. We have always known what is going on in our children’s lives, guided their steps, and corrected their mistakes. In particular, the father can struggle with laying aside his God-given protective instinct to watch his son or daughter grow as an adult. Who among us does not struggle with the desire to continue our involvement in our children’s lives to the point of minding their business instead of our own. After all, in the past , their business was our business.
The truth is, one day we will be gone. Would it not be nice to have something to say about or some influence over the direction the lives of our descendants will take? Is there something one generation can do to affect the lives of the generations to come?
Men, I am convinced we are a vital element in the direction the next generation takes. While their is no magic or even spiritual wand we can wave over our children to assure their salvation and godliness, more than we know men, we have an influence for godliness in the lives of our descendants. God is calling us to live our lives and make our decisions with a view to the next generation. I offer some Biblical thoughts from Psalm 112 that I hope will help form your conscience on the subject.
I. The Happiness of a God-fearing Man
Be careful lest the world forms your conscience in this matter. Happiness is not an end but the by-product of knowing God. And what makes us happy goes a long way toward setting a coarse for the next generation. The psalmist challenges us with two seemingly contradictory truths: fear and faith. Their seems to be an incongruity here. How do we reconcile happiness and fear? After all, the Scriptures often say “fear not”. Are fear and happiness compatible? The fear of God and faith in God are not contradictory. They are complimentary. They are absolutely compatible and indispensable to one another. The man who fears God most, trusts God most. The man who trusts God most,fears God most.Their is another element in the happiness of a God-fearing man. It is not specifically mentioned in Psalm 112, but it cannot go unmentioned. The psalmist says in another place: “If You, LORD, should mark iniquity, then who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You that You may be feared” (Ps.130:3,4). The carnal mind would presume upon grace; take advantage of forgiveness, but not the one who fears The Lord. The God-fearing man leaves a legacy of happiness. He is happy in his fear of God, his unwavering trust in Him, and the assurance of God’s forgiveness in Christ.
II. The Hope of a God-Fearing Man
The hope of a Christian is not a vague positive attitude but a sure expectation based on the truth of God’s Word. The God-fearing man has the hope of an enriched life. God sees fit to bless Him in various yet consistent ways. Under the Old Covenant those blessings were primarily outward and material. Under the New Covenant, they are primarily inward and spiritual. The life of the righteous abounds with blessings, often beyond what can be immediately seen.
To know Christ and His forgiveness, to have His Word and His promises is to have an enriched life.
Part of this enriched life includes an enduring righteousness. There is an enduring quality to the life of a God-fearing man. There is a persevering quality. The Psalmist mentions it here. “His righteousness endures forever.” The God-fearing man perseveres because he is preserved by his God. He is not merely religious in the human sense. His piety and commitment are not matters of convenience.
So what do these things have to do with minding your children’s business? We will look more closely at this in part two.