Do Your Kids Know Their Calling?
Why not clarify it with them
Psalm 127: 3–5 (ESV)
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
One of my most frequent experiences is to ask a child, a teen, or even a young adult this question: “What do you think God wants you to do with your life?”
The most frequent response, “I don’t know.”
At one level, that’s OK. One of my mentors used to say, “They have to find their own way,” and I get that. Too much direction, too much insistence that a child be under pressure to fulfill the parent’s dream can easily cause resentment and rebellion.
At another level, this response is not OK. I believe Scripture coaches parents to provide for their kids – at their level of maturation and understanding – a framework for why God placed them in their family. Without a “bigger picture” view that comes from the God who gave them life, kids are missing an important piece of the story which is them.
AN “AHA!” IN OUR CONNECT GROUP
Recently, our “connect group” spent an evening pondering Psalm 127. We slowed down enough to observe, offer insights, and discover what we’d previously overlooked in this familiar, Hebrew song. In the verses cited above, children are wonderfully, positively described.
A heritage from the Lord
Fruit from the womb of the mother
Arrows in a warrior’s hand, who needs plenty of them
Persons who provide the father prevailing confidence when engaging enemies
What struck me were the words “arrow” and “warrior.” How does a warrior use arrows? How near must the arrows be in order to be useful and at-the-ready? How straight must they be to hit the intended target? Doesn’t a warrior need to practice with arrows in order to be prepared for real battles?
Your children are the “arrows;” you are the warrior. There are life-battles with enemies, with evil, that require both an excellent bow and straight, sharp, prepared arrows. When evil attacks, life is at stake. Prevailing in a battle meant life could continue protected and unthreatened. Losing in battle meant capture, or death.
Even more, God gives children-arrows to warrior-parents. Without children – children who know who they are and how important they are to the continuing life and protection of the family – a warrior-parent is defenseless, more subject to attack and defeat.
Prepared arrows both protect from attack and prevail in battle. If there are enemies out to rob or ruin the life and future of one’s family, warrior-parents are blessed with arrow-children, and together they protect what is important to them
THE FAMILY UNDER ATTACK
Quite honestly, I can’t think of a more important unit in our society today – one that is more under attack than any other – than the family. Satan has a panoply of strategies to compromise the integrity and commitment of the parents, as well as to skew and frustrate excellent preparing of their children. Family life can be so fantastic, so life-giving, so rewarding. The thief comes in only to steal, kill, and destroy.
Do our kids hear from us the wonderful descriptions of them in the Psalm? Do they know how wonderful and valuable they are in God’s plan to make your family great? Perhaps one of the best family outings you could have would be to go to an archery tournament and watch a skilled archer deliver his/her well prepared arrows at the target. Then…talk about how important it is to be “sharp” and “straight” and “ready” when any enemy comes in to threaten, or even destroy, the health and strength of your family
OT Scholar Derek Kidner (Psalms 73-150, InterVarsity Press) always has something insightful to say about the Psalms. Of these children he comments,
“God’s gifts are as unpretentious as they are miraculous…Nothing is said here of monetary wealth or of position: an upstanding family is wealth enough and honour enough. And it is not untypical of God’s gifts that they first are liabilities, or at least responsibilities, before they become obvious assets. The greater their promise, the more likely that these sons (and daughters) will be a handful before they are a quiverful.”
Read this Psalm with your kids. Give them a sense of God’s calling in their lives, specifically placed in your family as a wonderful reward, and as purposeful arrows. Let them know you are preparing them God’s way to be sharp, straight, and on-target.