As a father, I’m constantly thinking I should be stressing our true eternal mission and the work of the Kingdom more with my kids. Most of the time I feel like I’m underachieving on this. Does every parent feel this way? Sometimes I think, ‘Who cares about your school or sport? We’re supposed to be focused on the Kingdom of God every day!’
I think most kids accept whatever religion or lifestyle they’ve seen in their parents — that is, until they get to be adults. We see a generational religion that most of us adopt without question. If you grew up Baptist, you consider yourself Baptist. If your parents were Mormon, you see yourself as a Mormon. If you grew up Muslim, that’s what you see yourself to be. But we all get to a point where we ask ourselves, “Do I really believe this?” It may happen for your child when they are in their early teens, but most often, it happens in someone’s 20s. That’s when you look back on your worldly perspective and lifestyle and wonder if it’s all worth it.
I want my kids to be 100 percent in. I struggle with the guilt of thinking, “I should have” — I should have started doing Bible studies with my kids or debriefing where their hearts are, or discussing with them how they’re serving in their sport team or school at an earlier age. I could live in the “should-have,” or I can live out my life as one completely sold out for Christ and let that be the greatest influence on my kids. And not only my kids, but their friends and all those around me. My kids know that my life isn’t just about raising good kids, it’s about doing all the work Christ has for me in this life. Hopefully, my kids see their lives in the same light.
God will grab the hearts of our kids in His time, in His way. It’s not on my time, as much as I would like it to be. I don’t know if my kids will remember what I say to them, but I do know that how I treat them and how I make them feel sticks. That’s what can change their lives.
I know my kids are saved by Christ, not that I’m the ultimate judge, but I see it in them by the way they live their lives. They believe in Jesus Christ; their hearts have been changed. So then, having the gift of eternal life, how are we going to live it? My wife and I don’t plan on coasting by. We want to slide into Heaven on empty, having spent our lives fully accomplishing the work God has set out for us.
Though our lives are to be lived for the eternal work of the Kingdom, I also don’t want my kids to feel like they don’t know their dad — that Dad wasn’t present enough in their lives, too busy investing in others, or himself. As parents, we’ve been given a responsibility to build into our kids’ lives.
When our kids see the life of their father, I want them to see that I know it’s way more about others than it is about me. In the same way, I want them to see that my life is about a lot more than just my kids, it’s about the Kingdom of God. That doesn’t mean my love for them is any less, but I do know my eternal mission on this earth. The Great Commission for us all is to go out and spread the news of the Gospel to all creatures. If my kids recognize this in me and ache to do the same with their own lives, I consider my role as their father a success. I hope to instill in them the yearning to run to an uncomfortable situation to help instead of turning a blind eye. I hope they don’t sit back and talk about how awful someone’s circumstances are, but instead go toward them to do something about it.
I hope my children have the mentality to wake up every day and pray, “God, what can I do for You today?” That’s when they can be free from the worries and stress of this world, and freed to do the Kingdom work they’ve been created to do.
— Adam LaRoche, former MLB player
Adam LaRoche is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Adam’s profile on The Increase: http://theincrease.com/author/adam-laroche/
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