Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
There is a time schedule, a hurried one, that is strictly for the birds. A scientific bird-watcher learned how quickly a pair of mourning doves can raise a family. Eggs that were laid on April 18 hatched on May 1. By May 14 the fledglings had left the nest. A few days later the parents started a new brood.
How fortunate we human beings have a longer childhood, to have more time with our parents and they with us! Of the childhood of Jesus it is said: “The child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40). Other Bible versions say that He increased also in favor with people. His was a well-balanced, fourfold growth: physical, mental, social, and spiritual.
Our children should develop that way, and all of this takes time. Parents have to take the time not only to provide for the physical, educational, and social needs of their children, but also for spiritual growth. Birds and other creatures of God have no need for a spiritual life, but human beings do. As children they learn that Jesus loves them and gave His life for them. He did this to redeem them from sin, to make them the sons and daughters of God. They learn to pray, to please God with their life, to serve one another at home, in school, in church, and in the community.
In fact, we need to grow spiritually all of life, as Saint Peter bids us: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). We do this through Bible study, family and personal devotions, worship in church, and the use of the sacraments.
There are no shortcuts to the Christian upbringing of children. There are no 90-day wonders. It takes time and effort, but these are richly rewarded, to God’s glory and the joy of parents.
PRAYER: Lord God, give me the faith and wisdom I need to follow Jesus Christ throughout my life.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)