Something has been bothering me. I overheard a conversation between two mothers of teens. One of these teens is just finishing her first year of college. She feels the call to go into ministry for the summer, but her parents want her to get a summer job and rationalize that “even ministers like to eat.” I do not judge this mother because I am not in her shoes. In fact, when I was in her shoes, I most likely did the same thing. But was I right in doing so?
That’s what has been bothering me. Did I set my kids up to depend on themselves for basic needs, such as food? Did I teach them that it is important to take care of their basic needs first and THEN listen to God? That they shouldn’t follow God’s call on their lives until after they are generating a secure income? What have I done?
I can’t help but wonder if my parents did the same thing to me. I don’t remember – it may have been “the world” that taught me to depend on myself. I have only recently learned to trust God as my source. My job is NOT my source. I am still learning to obey Him and His call on my life no matter what, and I’m still learning to trust that when I do, He will take care of everything else. What kind of message does it send when we say to our youth that God is their source, but in the same breath tell them it is up to them to provide their basic needs when they are out and “on their own” in the world?
I realize what we’re really saying is that WE (parents) will no longer be their source … that they can’t always count on Mom and Dad to feed and clothe them. But shouldn’t we be sending them to God for this instead of telling them to get a job? What if God doesn’t want them to get a job? Shouldn’t we be encouraging them to heed God’s call on their lives and trust Him to take care of everything else? Shouldn’t we be using this teachable moment to increase their faith in God instead of forcing the world’s fears on them? Do we really, REALLY believe the Bible? Or are we training our children to be hearers of the word and not doers?
I honestly don’t remember what I taught my children as they reached that age. I would like to think that I at least told them to follow their hearts. I’ve always believed that if you do what you love and love what you do, you will be happy and successful. It’s only been recently that I realized those passions are placed in our hearts by God, and He intends for us to use them for His purposes.
If I had it to do over again, I’d tell my children to seek God’s will. If He wants them to get a job, He will direct them to the job He has for them, but that they should never consider their job as their provider. God may want them to use that income for something else … He will meet their needs. If He has an assignment for them that is not a “job,” He will meet their needs! I would emphasize that God is able (and willing) to do exceeding abundantly above all they could ever do for themselves.
Is it too late to teach this to my children? What are you teaching your children?