Fathers Need to See Their Childrens Potential
The Bible says in Psalms 127 that arrows are in the hand of a "mighty man." That may seem puzzling, especially if fathers do not feel very mighty. But this passage does not necessarily mean that we are. Rather, it means that our children are like arrows that fly very far, shot by a mighty force. In terms of geographical distance, personal accomplishments, or great suffering, we have no idea of how far this may be. But one thing we know-and this is a greater distance tan all the others combined-those arrows of ours flu on into eternity. They will inhabit either heaven or hell!
Another factor we must recognize while we are preparing our arrows is that there will be other forces affecting our arrows. Crosswinds from the evil society around us tend to veer the arrows from the right course. Head winds of labor and the cares of this life might impede them. On the hand, Christian influences, like tail winds, can actually increase their momentum and extend their distance. Also, our children make choices of their own for which they will be held responsible. But usually children fly basically in the direction they were aimed. That should encourage us.
Another "mighty"part of fatherhood is the number of potential arrows we send into the future. The Lord Tarrying, our children will raise other children. The number of possible descendants will increase at a staggering rate. Suppose you have two children. If they each have two children and they each have two children for ten generations, you will have over two thousand descendants! Or make that three children each, and there will be over eighty-eight thousands! And the way we turn the present generation can turn the tide for many generations to come. You have probably seen fathers who have turned their children toward the world instead of toward God. The end result is tragic. Soon there are grandchildren who hardly even hear of God's way because they have been steered toward the world.
Verse 5 of Psalms 127 shows another potential we need to seek for. "They shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." Notice two things. First, they will not be ashamed because of an upright, honorable life. Second, they will speak with the enemy in the gate. Flirting and compromising with the enemy? Of course not! They will be there as part of the King's army, helping to guard and defend the city. They will be there as part of the King's army, helping to guard and defend the city. They will be among those who confront and resist the enemy. How encouraging it is to fathers when their children stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the great cause of Christ. How satisfying when children pick up the banner of truth, carry it faithfully in their generation, and then pass it on to the next.
So far we have only considered the eternal goals we have for our children. There are practical potentials we also want our children to experience. We want them to be upright and make it valuable contributions where they live. We want them to demonstrate the virtues of Christianity in their daily lives.
It goes without saying that every serious father wants salvation for his children in the life to come. But what a father wants for his children in this present life can make it hard for them to reach the heavenly goal. This can happen if children are pushed to be successful and well thought of in the community and not a bit behind anyone else in earthly achievements. Or if social status and ease and comfort are put ahead of seeking God's ways.
So the earthly goals we envision must line up with our heavenly goals. We must encourage our children to seek first the kingdom of God and make all other goals fall in line with the main goal. All theses potentials must be kept in close perspective as we prepare our arrows for flight. Proper preparation requires a balance of these various sides to ensure a safe journey.
How are fathers to feel while engaged in this great work? Should they regret having begun? Should they view it as a burden and a drudgery? Let's see what God has to say about this in our next lesson.