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The Most Important Job in the World - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
June 13, 2023 6:00 am

The Most Important Job in the World - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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June 13, 2023 6:00 am

What’s the toughest job in the world? Well as Skip shares today, the toughest job in the world—and the most important—is raising children. But God’s Word is here to help.

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Being a parent is, aside from having a spouse, the most important job in the world. But it's also the toughest job. And here's why it's tough. By the time you're experienced, you're out of a job.

What's the hardest job in the world? Well, as Skip shares today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, the toughest job in the world is that of raising children. But before we begin today, we want you to know that a brand new way to connect with Pastor Skip in this ministry is coming right to your backpack, purse, or pocket. It's text messaging. And if you've connected with us through prayer or a financial gift, you'll be the first to get a text welcoming you to the group.

So be on the lookout and we'll let all our listeners know how to join in the weeks ahead. Now, here's an offer that'll help you connect with God's design for fathers and understand why they are such a vital part of a strong family. Men in America need to step up and take responsibility for raising the children they father. Boys growing up without male influence get involved more easily in drugs, crime, and socially destructive behavior.

And they are likely to repeat the cycle of abandoning their children. Dads make a difference. That's the title of a critical issues package that is a must for men of any age or stage of life. As a father and a pastor, I'm deeply concerned for the families in our nation. It's clear that so many destructive trends are related to the lack of a dad's influence in the lives of their children. We need to educate men on what biblical manhood truly means. The Dads Make a Difference package includes seven of Skip Heitzig's most important messages to men, along with the full hour video documentary, Where's Dad?

hosted by Skip. I think it's safe to say that the family is under attack today. I know that's a phrase that you have heard me say. In fact, I'll tell you the truth. I've said that sentence for 40 years, and every year it's been true. And today it's truer than ever before.

It is worse than ever before. Get this package in either digital download or on CD and DVD when you support Connect with Skip with your gift of $50 or more. You'll be joining us as we take Skip's Bible teaching into more major cities.

Request the Dads Make a Difference package online at connectwithskip.com or by calling 1-800-922-1888. Okay, we're in Ephesians 6 as we go to Skip for today's lesson. How many of you are parents? Show of hands. Right. How many of you have had parents? Raise your hands.

Okay, well just wanted to make sure we cover all our bases. I want to talk to you today about the world's most important job. I think of all the tasks we could ever be assigned, all the occupations we could ever be engaged in, that especially in marriage, the most important is that of being a parent. My mind goes back to May 8, 1986 when my son Nathan Alexander was born. And I remember after he was washed up and they gave him to me to hold, the first thing that entered my mind is, he's so light.

Just this little peanut I'm holding and he's just so little and so manageable, so light. And as I was thinking that, another thought hit me like a ton of bricks and that is the weight of responsibility for this life as it goes beyond the event of birth all the way through his years to adulthood. It is estimated that 16 percent of a child's life is spent at school.

One percent of a child's life occupies the Sunday school, that is if he or she goes, which means 83 percent of that child's life will be spent under the tutelage of parents. Psalm 127 says, children are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is his reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them. I remember meditating on that psalm because we wanted more than one child, we wanted several, but I thought, really? Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them? Not every man would agree that they want a quiver full of children.

They quiver at the thought of having a quiver full of children. There were three men in a hospital waiting room while their wives were in the delivery room giving them their respective children. A nurse came in and said to one of the fathers, congratulations, your wife just wore you twins. He smiled and said, what a coincidence because I happen to play for the Minnesota Twins.

And so she thought, okay, cool. Came back a little bit later and announced to the second husband, congratulations, your wife just had triplets. And this guy said, this is amazing because I work for the 3M company.

Isn't that wild that I would have three children triplets when I work for the 3M company? Well, upon hearing this conversation, the third guy just hit the floor and started moaning. And the nurse said, are you sick? And he said, no, ma'am, but I do work for the 7-Up company.

The thought that somehow that could be prophetic bothered him. Being a parent is, aside from having a spouse, the most important job in the world, but it's also the toughest job. And here's why it's tough. By the time you're experienced, you're out of a job.

You're unemployed. Just when you're getting the hang of it and it's all coming together for you and you're firing on all cylinders, they leave the house. It's a tough job because kids have a mind and that means they're unpredictable.

You never know what they might say or what they might do. And I'm talking to a group of people that have various stages in life. Some of you have already raised your kids. You're into the grandparent stage.

And can I just say once again, that's the best part. But some of you aren't there yet. You're still raising kids and you're even at that awkward phase, some call it the rebel force, teenage years.

And you're just sort of managing through that, holding your breath. You know what Mark Twain once said? He said, things go pretty smoothly until your child reaches age 13.

That's the time to stick them in a barrel, put the lid down nice and tight and feed them through a knothole. Then he said when they turned 16, close up the knothole. As much as I love Mark Twain, he was a great humorist and a wonderful author, I don't think he knew very much about raising kids. Because first of all, things don't go pretty smoothly up till age 13. And then the whole knothole thing, you think you're going to feed a teenage boy who can eat three refrigerators full of food through a knothole?

You're crazy. The whole point of being a parent isn't to be disengaged, isn't to check out by putting them in a barrel or whatever, but rather to let them check you out. That's the whole idea of this scenario of parenting. You're letting young lives check you out, what you say, what you do, and you're shaping and molding a life for the future. Can I just say it's much easier to build a boy than it is to repair a man. It's much easier to build a girl than it is to repair a woman. But how do you do that? How do you build?

How do you fashion? How do you use those formidable years to give sufficient necessary resource for that person to launch into the future? Well, I've had you turn to Ephesians chapter six, which is, of course, following chapter five, which talks all about husbands and wives. Husbands love your wives, wives submit to your husband.

In chapter five, a good section of that deals already with the marriage issue. We continue in chapter six, and though we're going to look at one verse for the sake of context, let's begin in chapter six, verse one. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with you, that you may live long on the earth. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. We're going to occupy our time this morning on that single verse, verse four. There's enough in one verse to give us a good overall snapshot of the role of parenting in a marriage relationship.

And you'll notice it's a commandment. It's a negative and a positive command. So the verse divides nicely into three general principles for parenting. Number one, parenting can be done negatively. It's done all the time negatively.

It could be done positively. And finally, parenting should be done ultimately. So we're just going to take phrase by phrase and work our way through this one verse.

Sometimes less is more as we probe the depths of it. So parenting can be done negatively. You'll notice the first part of verse four. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath.

Stop there. Why does Paul direct this toward fathers only? Why doesn't he say, for example, fathers and mothers, or parents? Why just fathers? Because if you know anything at all about parenting, you couldn't keep a mom away from the parenting situation to save your life, right?

I mean, she's like the bulk of it. I was in a hospital visiting a couple sometime back. Their child was brought into the emergency room with some respiratory difficulty, I believe, if memory serves. And both of them were concerned, mom and dad. But the mother, she like owned the hospital. She was in total control of the welfare of that child.

You know, anybody that would come close, just those, that look. So then why does Paul say fathers don't provoke your children to wrath? I'm going to give you three possible answers.

They all may be correct, though I think the third one is most correct. Number one, because if there is an area of neglect, typically for a man, it would be that of his children. Typically, fathers tend to neglect children. It's not high on their priority list, especially when this was written 2,000 years ago in the Roman world, to most dads 2,000 years ago, kids were an inconvenience.

They simply did it to satisfy the requirements of the state of the government. They did it as their civic duty, but they didn't spend much time raising kids. So because it was an area of neglect, perhaps Paul isolates the fathers, the Christian fathers who would be reading this letter. In fact, even Socrates years ago, of course, and in the Greek times, said to the men of Athens, why do you men scrape and turn every stone to gather wealth, but neglect your own children to whom you must one day relinquish all?

So it must have been quite a problem. Here's the second reason that Paul speaks to fathers only in this verse. Because fathers tend to be of the father and mother, the ones that are at least perceived to be the most harsh of the two. When you think of tender care, you usually think about a mother. Fathers are a little more on the disciplinarian side. I mean, I'm just remembering my dad. He was tall, had a big voice, and kind of that imposing, intimidating figure as compared to my five-foot, one-inch mother.

Here's the third reason, and probably the reason. Though Paul would have known that parenting involves, of course, father and mother, he's speaking to fathers principally because they bear the brunt of responsibility in the home. In other words, I'm dealing with you dads because I know the buck stops here and you are responsible for setting the pace and the tone, even of child rearing in the home.

So though he would have in his mind mothers and fathers, he primarily addresses dads. Fathers do not provoke your children to wrath. So you can see by that negative commandment in verse four that parenting can be done negatively, because he says, don't do it this way, but do do it this way.

Parenting can be done negatively and can be actually detrimental to a child rearing in the home. So you can see by that negative commandment that parenting can be done negatively and can be actually detrimental to a child. One translation of the New Testament renders that fathers don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. The Amplified Bible is even more colorful, and I wonder if children didn't have a hand in translating this verse. Fathers do not provoke or irritate or fret and become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated. Do not break their spirit.

That's the translation of that one negative command. It suggests a pattern that over time resentment and frustration could build up by that process in the heart of a child. You say how? What ways would possibly be provoking to a child? Let me give you several. Number one, hypocrisy will provoke a child to wrath. When a child hears what parents say and they watch what parents do and those don't match, boy they can preach a good message there, but at home this is what they're really like. That builds up resentment. That angers a child.

They feel like you've betrayed them. John Bunyan said, a man can be a saint abroad, but a devil at home, and if such is the case, that will provoke a child to wrath. A second way is by inconsistency. Inconsistency, and I'm speaking here of discipline. When a parent is inconsistent in the way he or she deals with the little ones, the little ones, that provokes them to wrath. If you respond one way to them one day, but then the next day respond a totally different way to the same kind of action, it confuses them. So, for example, if yesterday was Junior's birthday and he threw a cake across the room and hit Aunt Matilda and you laughed it off, but the next day he accidentally spills milk and you go ballistic, that sends a confusing message. You are not consistent in the way you are approaching his behavior. Also, if one parent is harsh and the other is passive, that's inconsistent. And you know what that means?

It means that the child is going to find that out really quickly and figure out who to go to to get his or her will done. Oh, mom's hard, but dad's soft. Forget mom.

I'm going right to dad. So that's why parents have to talk it through and decide together how their discipline is going to be consistent. Two Harvard sociologists said the number one factor in preventing delinquency in children is the firm, fair, and consistent discipline of parents.

Did you get that? Firm, fair, and consistent. So hypocrisy and inconsistency will provoke a child to wrath. Here's the third discouragement. If you criticize more than compliment a child, if a child grows up knowing all the things he does wrong versus some of the things he does right, that'll build resentment, wrath, anger. Proverbs 15, harsh words stir up anger. When a child feels like they can't do anything right, they will get angry.

You are provoking them to wrath. Here's a fourth favoritism. If a parent plays favorites with one child over another, now it was easy. In my case, I had one son, but when you have many children and I was the fourth born of four boys, I had three older brothers, and I remember what this was like. Have you ever been compared to your siblings? Remember that growing up?

And my older brothers, by the way, they were like overachievers, valedictorian, varsity this, varsity that, just like hard to compete. And I heard that and it would build up resentment over time, favoritism. Can you think of a couple of scriptural examples of a father or mother who did this, played favorites, and what the fallout was? My mind goes to Isaac and Rebekah. Remember that married couple in Genesis 25? And Isaac's favorite son was his first born Esau, whereas Rebekah's favorite son was the second born Jacob, and that was a recipe for a family feud. Another one was Joseph.

He was the favorite of his father and all the other brothers saw that, heard that, felt that, and over time they grew bitter against Joseph and sold him into slavery. So hypocrisy, inconsistency, discouragement, favoritism, here's a fifth, over commitment. Kids study us and if they see us being over committed so that our job, our occupation, our activities, our hobbies take precedent over them so that they feel like they're an intrusion into your life whenever they try to get your attention, you'll provoke them to wrath.

They feel unwanted. Now kids will understand if you're busy, but they won't understand if they're neglected. Charles Francis Adams, that probably doesn't ring a bell. He was a politician in our country in the 1800s, Charles Francis Adams. You probably do know his grandfather or you know of him, President John Adams was his grandfather and you know his father, John Quincy Adams. So when grandpa and dad are presidents of the United States, that's a hard act to follow.

Well he became a politician, he wasn't a president, he was a diplomat, a statesman involved in several different kind of campaigns. Very, very, very over committed. So much so that on one particular day when he went fishing with his son, Henry, both of them kept diaries. In little Henry's diary, the entry said, went fishing with my dad today, the most wonderful day of my life.

But in dad's diary it read, when fishing with my boy today, a day wasted. You got to know that Henry grew up feeling that over commitment of his father to politics and to business so that he felt like an intrusion. That'll provoke a child to wrath.

Let me give you a sixth. Domineering. Domineering parents either by controlling them, the kids, or smothering the kids or over protecting the kids. When a child feels like you are just like hovering and you won't let them out, you won't let them make their own choices, they feel like well you don't trust them. You don't trust them to make their own choices or to feel the consequences of their own choices and that will build up over time resentment. They will grow to be angry. You provoke them to wrath.

Another way, this is way number seven, not to parent. Minimizing what your kids feel or say or what opinion they have. If they share something, they share an idea or an opinion and you just marginalize it, minimize it. It builds up resentment in them. If her doll breaks or his toy is missing and you go oh come on it's just a toy. Without realizing that toy to that child is like your car or your occupation, your business.

It's everything to him. If you minimize those kind of feelings and opinions, over time it builds up resentment. I read a report on child welfare that stated the primary reason why kids go to foster homes is not because of the divorce of parents, not because of financial issues, but disinterested parents. They just lose an interest in the kids. Finally, here's the eighth way not to parent.

Overloading. I don't mean your life, I mean their life. If your expectations of those girls or boys are so high so that you don't give them approval until they reach a certain goal, a certain grade, a certain cheerleader status or athletic status, you're provoking them to wrath. They feel like they will never please you.

They'll grow up frustrated. Why does he have to get the best grades? Why does he have to be number one on the team?

Why? Did you know that Napoleon Bonaparte was number 42 in his class? He became a ruler of the nation. Did you also know that Isaac Newton was next to the lowest in his class? Wow, great scientist. Or what about the six-year-old kid that came home from school with a note by the teacher that said, too stupid to learn? That was Thomas Edison. Too stupid to learn what?

Great American inventor. So parenting can be done negatively. Fathers, including all parents, both parents, mom and dad, do not provoke your children to wrath.

Now we turn a corner. The second phrase of verse four, but there's the positive. Bring them up in the training and the admonition of the Lord. The word bring up means to nourish your children or better yet move them toward maturity. Bring them up. Don't hold them down. Don't push them back. Don't keep them home.

Bring them up. That's Skip Heitig with a message from the series Keep Calm and Marry On. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and many others around the world with God's word. The broadcast ministry of Connect with Skip Heitig exists to connect people around the world to God's word so they can enjoy his presence and do his will. We invite you to join in that important work today. Through your support, you can expand this ministry into more major U.S. cities and help more people respond to the life-changing truth of the Bible. Plus, you'll keep these teachings that you love available to you wherever you listen. Would you partner with me in this effort? Here's how you can give a gift now. Connect with Skip Heitig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-13 05:29:52 / 2023-06-13 05:39:00 / 9

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