Ephesians 5:15-16 (NIV)
There were very few times as a little girl that I got to go with my dad and help him with his farm chores. I don’t remember why. Perhaps he was in a hurry with so much to do. Maybe he wanted to make sure his 8-year-old daughter was safe in the house and away from the equipment.
Whatever the reason, I longed to do something – anything – with him. And then it happened. He asked me to help him feed the cattle.
It was an extremely cold January day so I zipped and buttoned layer after layer to stay warm and topped it all with oversized brown coveralls, a green stocking cap and two pairs of gloves. My job was to drive the tractor while he threw hay off the back of the wagon to the cattle.
It’s funny how sights and sounds stay with you but I can still remember the smell of the hay and feel the crisp air on my face as I proudly drove the tractor around the field as the cattle followed.
I remember thinking that this must be what the Pied Piper of Hamelin did to get the children to follow him, except the children were replaced by cattle and my dad used his voice instead of a flute to get them to follow.
In all honesty, I am sure that he did not look back on that experience with me as anything out of the ordinary. But not me! Oh, I remember that day even now because it was one of the few times that I got to work side by side with Daddy.
I am reminded of a true story about Charles Francis Adams, the grandson of President John Adams and the son of President John Quincy Adams. Charles, a successful lawyer and politician, was disciplined to the point of keeping a dairy that he wrote in almost daily.
One entry was this: “Went fishing with my son today – a day wasted.” However his son, Brook Adams, who also kept a diary, wrote this entry on the same day: “Went fishing with my father – the most wonderful day of my life!”
I know that life gets crazy. There are demanding careers and unmowed lawns and dirty dishes and jammed windows. There are golf games and card games and unread books and unmade beds.
But there are also children. Children to hug and cheeks to kiss and puddles to wade in together. There are also kites to fly and bikes to ride and songs to sing and laughter to share and Scripture to discover. Together.
There are memories to be made, my precious friends. So I need to ask you: how will your children – and grandchildren – remember you?
Paul encouraged the people at Ephesus to wisely make the most of every opportunity that they had to do the Lord’s will. His warning applies to us today as well.
Unfortunately I have to admit that when it comes to my children and grandchildren, I can get my priorities out of order. Can you relate?
There is absolutely nothing in your life right now that cannot wait until you hug or love or tickle or squeeze your children. Until you take each little face in your hands, look into upturned eyes and say “The best part of my day is you.”
I have no doubt that they will immediately think “this is the most wonderful day of my life!”
Father, thank You for reminding me today that spending time with my children is more important than anything in this world. I pray I will take every opportunity to let them know how much they are loved. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
R.A.P. it up . . .
Are your children listed above everything that you have to do this next week or at the bottom of the list?
Do you find yourself telling your kids “Yes, we will do that together later” but later doesn’t come?
Make two columns in your journal. Label them “Important for Now” and “Important for Eternity.”
Enter your activities for next week under one of the two columns. Prioritize activities so your children are at the top of both columns. Are your children listed in any of the activities? In which column are they?
Ephesians 5:15-16 (NIV) “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
James 4:14 (NIV) “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Psalm 39:4 (NIV) “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.”
Psalm 127:3 (NIV) “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.”
Deuteronomy 11:19 (NIV) “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing and information about her books, check out her blog Encouragement from the War Room.)