Chris, in casual conversation, mentioned to a younger friend the other day that we’ve been encouraged to see some fruit in our kids. Not a terribly notable comment to my ears. What was interesting was that the young man responded slightly surprised, saying that that was not the typical thing he hears from parents. That caught our attention.
We have a lot of kids for a lot of reasons, one of those reasons is to show people the truth of the scriptures that Godly offspring are a blessing from the Lord. Children have a way of pulling people outside of themselves. A culture that values children thinks to the future generations and not just the present moment, values life, and learns an attitude of service. So to think that parents are doing all the hard work of raising these little buggers, and then undermining our own efforts by not highlighting the harvest is concerning.
I understand why we do it. It feels like tooting our own horns to say, yeah, my 8-year-old made breakfast this morning, did some laundry, and told all of her siblings a captivating story like she was Wendy from Peter Pan. Then some of us feel like there are super-moms out there that we’ll never measure up to. So the pendulum swings and faithful moms clam up or only highlight their failures, not wanting to come across like they don’t need the gospel as much as every other mom out there. Certainly pride and narcissism are wrong, taking credit for the Lord’s work is wrong, and pretending that your family is perfect is wrong.
BUT… there has to be a category for encouraging each other with success. The gospel is, after all, “good news” and it is efficacious. It saves us unto glory and it changes the way we live our lives, producing beautiful spiritual fruit in us and our children. So scour your trees for fruit, like you’re an apple farmer in MI this fall. Be thankful for every bit. And then when someone asks you how it’s going just tell the TRUTH. If you really can’t see any fruit, tell a friend, and be encouraged that they’ve been through a dry season, but it didn’t last forever (and usually they can spot some fruit you’ve missed). If you’re harvesting a hearty crop, be an encourager. Tell your friend to have patience the Lord is at work. Take courage, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:8)