Manhood at the Master’s Feet

The Psalms and Matthew 18-19 tell us that manhood is more than bullets, brawn, and beast-killing. Jesus was the manliest man who ever lived, and he bounced children on His knee:

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away. (Matthew 19:13-15, ESV)

Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them,” but American men say, “Leave the children to the women, I’ve got hunting to do,” – as though killing animals, even to feed your family’s bodies, is more important than spending time with them to feed their souls.

Jesus says, “Children are a blessing;” American men say, “Children are a burden,” – as though pouring one’s life into someone else’s is not the best use of our relational time on this earth.

Cultural views of manhood reduce children to annoyances, play-toys, or “choices.” Jesus has a better stance: children get blessings, and they give blessings.

Dads and would-be dads out there, maybe instead of listening to Planned Parenthood, mainstream media, or hip-hop artists, we should sit at the Master’s feet.

The 2nd-Most Misquoted Verse (Not) in the Bible

…is Proverbs 13:24 (at least in my estimation. I’ll leave #1 for another time). So how would you finish the famous saying that misquotes this verse?

Try it for yourself:
“Whoever spares the rod ______”

Most people reply, “spoils the child.”

Nooooo. Let’s read Proverbs 13:24 together:

Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Winking at a child’s sin isn’t just “spoiling” a child. God isn’t saying lazy parents are the same as gift-happy grandparents. He says that lazy parents hate their children. Lazy parents are the opposite of loving parents. Lazy parents actually aren’t parents at all.

Contrary to pop-psychological opinions, however, loving parents are precisely the ones who are “diligent to discipline.” They don’t tire over discipline because they truly love their children. They don’t give up when the discipline gets tough; love gets them through it. They aren’t quitters when their child’s sin threatens to break their resolve. They discipline because of love.

This is important because, to their children particularly, parents picture God. Parents model the Almighty before their children. This is the parent’s charge.

No wonder we have so many grown children who have no concept of sin! Their parents never taught them through discipline the gravity of offending the King! Their parents never taught them God’s holy hatred for sin! And, in sparing the rod, these parents hated their children’s souls.

So, don’t misquote Proverbs 13:24. Sparing the rod is one big way that parents hate their own children, but diligence in discipline is love. It’s happy in the long run. It’s good.

Ten Ways Children Are a Blessing

In reminding our pro-death, self-centric culture that children are a blessing, not a curse, I wanted to also show several practical ways children make our lives and world a better place:

  1. Children teach you that you don’t know it all.
  2. Children force you out of your comfort zone.
  3. Children teach you that you still need a Father, a Comforter, and a Savior.
  4. Children remind you that there are very many real things to fear.
  5. Children make you slow down.
  6. Children help you to enjoy life.
  7. Children remind us that our souls are made for more than this life.
  8. Children flip your world upside down and remind you that it’s not about you.
  9. Children remind us to make the most of every moment.
  10. Children remind us that we are always as helpless as they are before God.

Glory, Love, Learn: 3 Reasons to Work with Children

A few weeks back, we led a Bible club for the kids in our neighborhood, and I relayed to our teammates three good reasons to work with children:

  1. To see God’s peculiar glory. In Matthew 11:25-26, Jesus says, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was Your gracious will.” God has a special glory that is revealed to children and those who have faith like children (Matthew 18:3-4). Working with children allows us to see it in us and them.
  2. Because Jesus loves children. In Mark 10:13-16, Jesus rebukes the disciples for keeping children away and takes them into His arms to bless them. Jesus loves children. He is not indifferent toward them or angry with them; He loves them.
  3. Because we need to learn from children. Christ says that if we don’t receive the kingdom of God like a child, we won’t enter it (Mark 10:15). And how are we to learn to be like children without these tiny teachers? In this way, we ought to learn more and be humbled more through children and young people more than any other group.

Looking back, we saw all three during that week, and why should’t we? Children are a blessing, and God is at work.

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