When is the last time you’ve had a hard time keeping an eternal perspective? For many of us, we probably don’t have to think too hard for something to come to mind. Chief leads us in how we can help our kids (well, and ourselves too!) keep a long term perspective…even in the instant world we live in.*
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
When my oldest daughter takes herself to a new task (jumping rope, hula hooping, riding a bike, gymnastics, ballet, hitting a baseball, ad infinitum) I always hear the same thing. “I’m never going to be good at this.” As a 7 year old she lacks the perspective we all need to learn. To be successful, life takes work, preparation and time.
Let’s take a look at a few Biblical stalwarts who had to adopt a long-term perspective of life and see what we can learn from them.
- Noah was given an overwhelming and unusual task. Build an ark that was the length and width of 1 ½ football fields and 4 ½ stories tall. Oh, and he had to build it with just his family – 4 men & 4 women. Based on the timeline in Scripture, it probably took 50-75 years for Noah to accomplish this feat. It is said that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. A task like mastering the piano can be daunting, but if we teach our children to simply focus on doing their best in today’s practice they will eventually get there.
- Moses felt a tug early in his life to help his enslaved people (Acts 7:23-25), but when he acted he found himself instead herding sheep in the desert for 40 years. Moses might have thought he was wasting his time when he could have been making a difference, but all the while God was preparing him to shepherd people in the desert for the same amount of time. Often in school our kids sit in classes like Algebra and wonder, “What is the point?” But we have no idea what God will use these seemingly pointless skills for in the future. My 9th grade Spanish class seemed useless in northern Arkansas. I wish I had paid more attention now that I live next to San Antonio!
- David was most likely a young teenager when Samuel anointed him to be the next king of Israel, yet it wasn’t until David was 30 years old that he actually fulfilled that role. However, during this long wait David faithfully executed whatever positions were given to him and never sought to take short cuts to achieve Samuel’s promise.
This principle takes a very large perspective. One promise God has given believers is He will transform us into the image of Christ (Phil 1:6), though it will take a lifetime. My daughter often gets discouraged because of her sin. She rejects God’s promise of transformation and believes she will always be in this sin prone state. Encourage your children that God is at work in their lives, often in unperceivable ways. But one day they will experience His finished work in our lives.
What is something you have to do regularly that seems like a waste of time? What is one way you could dream that God might use that in future?
*We apologize for the accidental “test” email sent last week. Looks like we had our own “family matter” to grow through.