I never planned to have a large family. And depending who you ask, I may or may not have a “large” family. My wife and I have four boys, two years apart from one another. Fifty years ago, most families had three plus kids; but today, more and more families are having only one or two children.
Regardless the number of kids, if you have even one child, you know what I mean when I say, our house can get a little…let’s say, CRAZY! It’s just an ordinary day for my wife and I to find our boys running through the house screaming with their shirts and socks off. They will try to make a trampoline out of our family room sofa, or build a castle with our dining room table and chairs. We’re very careful about asking them to help wash the dishes because it is likely that we will soon discover Niagara Falls coming from our kitchen sink.
I’ve come accustomed to the normalities of my home. In fact, I–an introvert who loves my alone time–am learning to enjoy the unpredictable chaos of my increasingly vibrant home. But this wasn’t always the case, and sometimes it still isn’t.
I used to be extremely impatient with my kids. (Now, I find myself being impatient with my kids less) They would inconvenience me with their constant needs and wants, whether it be food, dirty diapers, or just desiring time with me. However, I am discovering that my inconvenience really had little to do with my kids and EVERYTHING to do with my self-centered, sinful heart. For example, I remember watching a football game and having feelings of frustration because my son did not want to wait until the next commercial break to get his diaper changed. I felt that I deserved some down time. The fact is, I didn’t. I really don’t deserve anything.
This is troubling because we live in a culture that says the opposite: “You deserve a vacation; you deserve a better paying job; you deserve a break.” Don’t misunderstand. There is nothing wrong with a vacation, a better paying job, or a break; but, so often we think we have earned these things, and it is exactly this perspective that shifts our focus from God being the sole provider and sustainer of all things to ourselves. We become the center of which all else revolves. A deserving attitude promotes pride, arrogance, self-sufficiency, and self-centeredness. Although some of these outcomes are more tolerated than others in our 21st century American culture, nobody wants to interact with an arrogant, selfish person as their boss, spouse, parent, or child. The truth is, we are not supposed to be this way.
Furthermore, as Christ-followers, we have supreme reason to refrain from a deserving mentality. Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, deserved everything, but allowed Himself nothing. Philippians 2:7-8 says, “(He) made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” This may seem extreme, but as Christ-followers, we are to have an attitude like Christ’s.
So as a dad to four boys, I can get easily irritated and inconvenienced. This is because the focus is on myself, instead of my children, which originates from a deserving worldview. You and I must combat this worldview everyday by confessing to God our sins of thought, word, and action. We must be reminded through God’s Word of His forgiveness, and rest in His grace. If we don’t, the consequences are monumental.
If you are a dad, mom, grandpa, grandma, teacher, or someone who influences kids, don’t just tell them Jesus; show them Jesus. And pray that I can deal with Niagara Falls in the kitchen with the same kind of grace Jesus has shown me.