Children and Contentment

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“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)

 

Yesterday, we talked about the similarities between parenting and herding sheep. 

 

If we were to substitute the idea of shepherding with our lives as parents (even as spiritual mentors), Psalm 23:1 might sound something like this:

 

“My parents take such good care of me that I can’t think of anything I desire.  I am totally satisfied with my life.”

 

Okay. I know that is wildly unrealistic. Our society feeds us with a message to actually increase our desire.

 

“Two for me, none for you” (Twix)

 

“Have it your way” (Burger King)

 

“Because you’re worth it” (L’Oreal)

 

Yet, the Kingdom slogan is quite different:

 

Godliness with contentment is great gain” (Paul) 

 

Be content” (John the Baptist)

 

If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself” (Jesus)

 

So how do we train our children in these Kingdom principles?  

 

Psalm 23:2 gives us a good starting point:

 

“He makes me lie down in green pastures”.

 

A sheep rarely eats while laying down. On yesterday’s video, we watched as the sheep walked and ate, walked and ate. 

 

Yet, here in Psalm 23:2, the shepherd actually tucks their hooves underneath them and causes them to rest instead of graze.

 

The Hebrew verb “makes me lie down” is not only causative, but imperfect as well. The action needs to be done again and again as a process rather than seen as a once and done project. 

 

Green pastures are all around our children today: Toys R Us, Walmart, Target, the supermarket. 

 

But we must be just as intentional and consistent with our children as the Shepherd is with His sheep. 

 

Their bleating cries didn’t cause Him to deviate from His purpose. 

 

Neither should our children’s whines dictate our decisions.

 

If we are indeed going to “train them up into the way they should go”, denying some of their whims must be included in our lesson plans.

 

Holy Shepherd,

I have to admit that I often give into the bleating of my own lambs just to stop their cries. I realize that in doing so, I am not teaching them the endurance and contentment that you value so highly. I need Your help. Grant me consistency blended with gentleness.

Teach me how to rest personally before You daily. I desire to help with the process of lying down, so you don’t have to force my legs to do so.  In this way, I will better understand how to train my own children in contentment as well. I need Your moment by moment guidance. In the Name of the Good Shepherd I pray, Amen.

 

What ways do you use to teach contentment?