Nothing makes a mother (or father) prouder than the success and accomplishments of their children. You know the parents of the child who just scored the goal in the soccer game. You know which child has the solo in the school play based on the video cameras in the back of the room. Ask any proud parent and they will quickly pull out their wallet (or their cell phone) to show you pictures of their children.
As Christian parents, we should certainly be proud of our children’s accomplishments. At Jesus’ baptism, God the Father spoke up and said, “You are my beloved Son, I take delight in you.” As a Son, Jesus gave his Father joy. Christian parents have every right to pull out their wallets to show off the pictures, cheer when their children score the goal, and smile when their children sing the solo. But even more than these accomplishments, Christian parents should cherish their children’s spiritual victories as well.
It should give us more joy when our children decide to choose church over ball practice. It should give us more joy when our children beat an addiction. It should give us the greatest joy when our children give their lives to Jesus Christ. It is the spiritual victories in our children’s lives that should give parents the greatest joy – even more than scoring the game winning point. What kind of mark are we leaving on our children when we celebrate sporting & academic victories above and beyond faith victories?
There is one mother in Scripture that we hear very little about. Her name was Elizabeth. She was related to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Though the familial relationship is unclear, most believe that they were cousins. Elizabeth was a God-fearing woman, married to the priest Zechariah. Luke says that both Elizabeth and her husband “were righteous in God’s sight, living without blame according to all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.” And even though they were advanced in years, they clearly taught their son John a thing or two about faith.
Fast-forward about 30 years. Elizabeth is probably deceased, but her son John is alive and well. As I consider John’s description, I wonder if Elizabeth would’ve approved of such an eccentric public persona – wearing funny clothes, eating like a hippie. He clearly didn’t have a PR guy working with him on his image. But there are two things about John that must have made Elizabeth proud.
First, he wasn’t afraid to stand up for what was right. John took on the establishment when the establishment was clearly in the wrong. It cost him dearly, but this was clearly a mark of a righteous man (and clearly the influence of a righteous mother and father).
Second, he pointed people to Christ. Even when people wanted to make him the Messiah, he said, “Don’t look at me, look at Jesus. I’m not even worthy to untie His shoes!” What discipline to not take that glory for himself, but to freely redirect it to someone else. Again, we see the clear mark of a righteous man.
Those are two great characteristics that godly parents would do well to pass on to their children – to stand up for truth, righteousness, and justice, and to point people to Christ. Our kids could conquer the world, but if they won’t stand up for what is right and point others to Christ, then their lives will lack those things which matter the most. If we can pass these traits on to the next generation, then we will have a lifetime of things to celebrate about our children.