For those of you who have just dropped by, I'm digging for treasure in God's Word this month. Matthew 6:33 promises, "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." I think that "all these things" includes the treasures I'm seeking in the diaper pail --the jewels of joy, nuggets of wisdom and pearls of peace--but before I seek the gems, I must seek the Giver of good gifts (James 1:17). I'd be honored if you'd join me!
Seek First: Living up to Our Name
Seek First: Living up to Our Name
Today's Treasure: Read Proverbs 22:6, John 1:40-42, Matthew 16:13-19
Stasi Eldredge, mother of two and author of the bestselling book Captivating, suggests that Proverbs 22:6, the classic “parenting mandate” is actually a directive to “call out” the masterpiece in our children. She says, "This verse is not a promise about faith. It is not speaking of training a child to follow Christ or promising that if you do, the grown child will continue to follow him. Sorry. The proverb is about raising a child to know who he is and to guide him in becoming ever more himself. In the way he should go. Not in the way you would like him to go in order to validate you… It speaks of teaching a child to live from his heart, attuned to it, awake to it, aware of it and when that child is grown he will continue to live a life form the heart. It is about seeing who a person really is and calling him out to be that person…The impact on a life that has been seen and called out is dramatic and eternal" (Captivating, 177).
Have you ever noticed how Jesus “calls out” the best in people? In today’s account, our Savior is introduced to a brash, prideful, talk-too-much, listen-too-little fisherman. And before the introductions are complete, Jesus has given this ordinary seaman a new name; a name to “grow into,” if you will. I love how John describes the encounter. Looking intently, at Simon, Jesus said, ‘Your name is Simon, son of John- but you will be called Cephas (which means Peter or Rock)’ (John 1:42). Jesus reminds me a bit of Agostino de Duccio in this scene. When he meets Peter, the Savior sees what none other has spotted. Christ peers beyond a slab of sun-leathered flesh and inflated ego and spots a heart that can be molded into a masterpiece- a ROCK to be exact (see Mathew 16:18).
In Revelation 2:17, Jesus promises, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” While Scripture doesn’t offer details about the new names we will receive, I am prone to wonder if the name carved onto each person’s white stone will be the name Jesus has used all along as He’s called out the masterpiece in each of us. Just as the Savior saw in Simon a “Peter” capable of being the very foundation of the early church, surely He looks at us and sees men and women of unparalleled promise. Perhaps the names mentioned in Revelation depict who we will be when Jesus completes in us His good work.
As parents, we can learn much from Jesus’ approach to works-in-progress. Look again at today’s account. Christ acknowledges who Peter is at the moment (Simon, son of John), then He declares who Peter will be when Christ’s perfect work is complete. That little word “but” is the key to Christ’s future-sightedness (Your name is Simon…but…). What if each time we were faced with the reality of who are child is right-now-full of shortcomings and flaws-we added the little word “but”(IE: My son is strong-willed now…BUT that determination may one day keep my son from giving up on the challenge at hand.).
Let’s follow the example of Jesus and ambition to love our children as they are, while by faith, we declare who they will be when the Potter finishes His work.
Parent’s Pondering: Do I focus more on my children’s limitations or their possibilities? What unique qualities and strengths can I “call out” in my child in expectation of God’s continuing work? Today, use Charlie Shedd’s profound one-liner as a prayer for yourself and for your children. “Lord help me to understand what you had in mind when you made the original me” (Holy Sweat 176).