Passage for Study: 1st Samuel 3: 1 – 18 … 1st Samuel 3 linked for study and context …
My Journal for Today: The lessons we parents can learn from Priest Eli’s failure as a daddy should be quite obvious; but they may not be to a parent who, like Eli, was locked into a long standing pattern of inactivity, passivity, and denial when it came to his kids. He could not – or would not – see that he was not there for his boys while they were growing up in the home of a prominent religious figure of that day.
I can just imagine how difficult it must’ve been for Billy Graham to raise his kids; and we now know that Billy and Ruth Graham had five children, all of whom became dedicated Christians, involved in Christian ministry in some way, … two of them Anne and Franklin becoming very prominent in international Christian ministries. But Franklin was an example of a prodigal child, who questioned why his dad was not around all that much when he was growing up; and he rebelled, going through a period of questioning, and even being expelled from his Christian college, not coming to Christ until he was 22. But as it is said in Prov. 22: 6, he was raised by loving parents who set clear boundaries and provided their boy with time and affirmation. He was also mentored by Christian leaders in Graham’s ministry, two men who helped give the rebelling Franklin clear guidance. And now, we know that Franklin Graham, returned to the faith as promised in that Proverb, having founded and leading Samaritan’s Purse and becoming very active in preaching in the Bill Graham crusades, now taking the reigns of that ministry now that Billy is aging.
As Chuck Swindoll points out today, by using the case of Eli and his sons, even if you’re dedicated and prominent as a religious or business leader or public figure, you cannot abandon the role which God considers every parent’s primary mission field, and that is the family, with the priesthood being the co-roles of parenting. Every man should be the Priest of his home; and his wife becomes the minister’s help-mate in the role of parenting. And so, when priority decisions come as we parents must decide between time spent in parenting and the home as opposed to the church, business, or the public life, the priority decision for time investment should always come back home first.
Such was obviously not the case with Eli; and we read of the result of his parenting decisions. His two boys grew up as deviants and drags upon Eli’s ministry and society; and the Priest may have been a Priest to God’s people; but he certainly was not THE priest in his home and for his boys. Oh, how I hope that all who read this have been the parents we should have been for our kids. For me, it came close to being a disaster. For the formative years our girls were being raised, I was an athieist and an AWOL parent, deeply into a Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde double life. But praise God, He brought me to brokenness just in time; and coming to know Christ when our girls were pre-teens, both my wife and I became break-through Christian parents in time for God’s Spirit to get a hold of our daughters and to help us become the parents they needed when they were going through those tough teen years. Now our girls are dynamic Christian mothers, who have had their own children and are doing their best to raise them in Christian homes, where their dads are Christian fathers. I can only praise God for His intervention and redirection in our family life so that our girls could be raised by spiritually growing Christian parents, who learned, from God’s word and from the example of the church, what parenting should be like in God’s scheme of living.
I can only pray for all of us that we take the role and ministry of Christian parenting very seriously; and for those who have been blessed with the stewardship of having children to raise for God’s glory, may we acknowledge the blessing and do all we can to prioritize that mission field as being the pre-eminent ministry of our lives.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, our daughters are Yours. Our grandchildren are Yours. Help us to parent and grandparent them as Yours, … for Your glory. Amen