“Mommy, what do you think I will be when I grow up?”
My son’s sparkling green eyes stare at me with bright anticipation. He’s asked us this same question for years. Sometimes he tells us, sometimes, he asks us; sometimes he just wants to hear the answer again because his mind has still not fully wrapped itself around it.
“Well, there are a whole lot of jobs you could have, a whole lot of places you could live, a whole lot of new things you could explore.”
“But what will I be, Mommy?”
“You will be a worker for the Lord, a preacher of the Word, no matter where you work or what you do. You will be strong, trustworthy, steadfast, wise, patient, and blessed. You’re going to be a light and that will bring glory to God.”
“Yes, I will. I will be a worker for the Lord. ”
A worker for the Lord.
What does that look like?
How do we cultivate that desire in our kids and make it so strong that no one can take it from them?
How do we keep our focus, and their focus, on being successful in God’s eyes, and not the worlds?
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” Col 3:23
The best place to start is with our example.
Whatever we as parents do (i.e. washing the dishes, cleaning the bathrooms, paying the bills, going to work,) we need to do with a good heart, with excellence, as if we are working for the Lord.
That in turn leads our children to do whatever they do (i.e. working on schoolwork, cutting the grass, walking the dog, cleaning their rooms) with a good heart, with excellence, as if they are working for the Lord too.
Our example, what is “caught and not taught”, is the most important and most impactful learning tool they have. In Psalm 127:4 it says, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.”
Picture a warrior holding an arrow, pulling it back as far as it can go, lining it up straight with a clear shot to the target and then WHOOSH, letting go and watching it sail through the blue sky to the exact place the warrior aimed it, digging in deep, not to be moved.
It’s beautiful when done right. When the training has paid off. When it all works as God designed it.
Those arrows are our children and we, whether we think we fit the bill or not, are the warriors. We are aiming our children in the way of the Lord, the way of protection, the way that brings glory to our creator. We are teaching them every single day, what they will be when they grow up.
We are teaching them what is important to us, what our priorities are, what matters and what doesn’t matter. How do we cultivate the desire for them to be a worker for the Lord? We ourselves be workers for the Lord. We show them how to be discerning, how to pray, how to be silent, how to share Christ’s love, how to follow Him.
Our love, our patience, our integrity, our diligence, our desire to please God is on grand display for our kids to see, and to learn from. Not only will they see a hard working mom and dad that they are so proud of, they will see that it’s worth it.
They will see the gains, the rewards, the peace, the satisfaction of working hard as unto the Lord and they will want it too. They will want the treasure that you have. They will want to be a worker for the Lord like you.
No, the world might not see it the same way. They might not value the same things you value. They might not care for what you care about. But God gave you these arrows to point towards Him, and not towards the desires of the world. It’s not always easy, actually it’s never easy, but they’re your arrows, in your warrior hand.
Who knows, my son might run a company one day, he might be a world-renowned doctor, he might be an astronaut. Or he might work at a gas-station, or be a poor missionary, or sell snow cones like my daughter dreams of doing. God has a specific purpose for our children, a magnificent, amazing, God-given, perfect purpose that has nothing to do with their job, and everything to do with their hearts.
Whatever they do, if God is the center of their heart, if they are His captive audience, if they have learned from their godly parents on being workers for the Lord, on preaching His Word, they will shine bright wherever they are. They will bring glory to Him, and that’s all that matters.
So what will my son be when he grows up?
Jacque Gerlach is a recent transplant to Houston, TX along with her husband of 10 years, Brandon, and 4 beautiful children, Jeremiah, Shiloh, Levi and Mercy. The Gerlach family is focused on being strong physically by exercising together and eating a whole foods diet; being strong spiritually by being in the word together, praying together and memorizing scripture; and by being strong as a family by purposefully walking out life together through homeschooling, being counter-culture and having lots of fun. The whole family blogs together at www.wholefamilystrong.com and hangs out at Whole Family on Facebook.