Parents, Stay In the Channel!

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24

Question: Brother Reynolds, God has given us a new baby; what meaningful advice could you give us as we try to raise him for God in this complex world?

Parenting is so easily wrought with errors and mistakes. After all, parents are so human. When one has the wisdom and experience – one is too old to have the children. The best advice I could give is found in a story I heard at a summer camp:

One day a merchant was on the banks of the Mississippi river with a new barge loaded with a valuable cargo bound for New Orleans. He had a big problem, for he did not have a pilot he could trust to take the barge down the treacherous river.

He began to ask those that had sent goods down the river before, ‘Who do you know, who can take my barge safely down the Mississippi?” A number pointed to an unimpressive man leaning on a barrel. ‘That man can take the barge down the river.”

After getting the same recommendation from a number of people the merchant approached him. “You have been recommended as a man who knows this river.”

“Do you know where the rocks are in the river?”

“Nope.”

“Then do you know where the sandbars are?”

“Nope.”

“People have told me you are the man to take my cargo down the river–but you don’t know were the rocks are and you don’t know were the sandbars are. How could you ever take my barge down safely?”

“I know where the channel is.”

Parents, I cannot tell you were all of the rocks will be as you begin this journey – and there will be many – but I do know where the channel is. The channel is found in the Word of God and it is a very balanced way.

Stay out of the ditches on either side of life’s road.

God is looking for those who will worship and walk with him in spirit and in truth. If you go after the one without the other, you will run your family up on a sand bar.

Many of my friends have gone after the spirit and have forsaken truth. They are losing their children on the rocks.

Others are holding to the truth but their spirit is wrong and they have lost the joy of serving Him. They are harsh and hard–stuck on a sandbar going nowhere spiritually. Their children will never want what they have.

Stay in the channel.

Conclusion
All of parenting must be balanced:

You must balance your love — with your discipline.

You must balance your support — with allowing consequences.

You must balance privileges — with trustworthiness.

You must balance liberty — with responsibility.

Avoid the rocks of permissiveness.

Avoid the sandbars of harshness.

Serve your God — in spirit and in truth.

Seek the middle of the channel.

Trust your pilot, Jesus Christ – He knows the channel.

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