With encouragement to moms and dads, the psalmist wrote these unforgettable words, Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a reward from Him.
Well, let's be honest. When the kids are little, when their basic needs seem endless, when the crying won't stop, sometimes it's hard to see our kids as a reward from God. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll restores our confidence in God's promises.
Mom, dad, your investment in those kiddos is well worth the effort. Chuck titled today's message, The Lighting in Your Kids and Grandkids. So much of our lives is spent in serious talk, serious decisions, dealing with serious events.
And I can assure you, those of us engaged in ministry are often dealing with serious issues. It occurred to me in a series on the family, we need a little balance in this without taking away for a moment the seriousness of our calling or the importance of our role as in the family. There are times we need simply to lighten up, just to find delight in our kids and our grandkids, to look for the happy moments, to find joy and to create joy in settings that would otherwise be grim and ultra serious. So I thought today would be an appropriate time to touch on the subject of delighting in our families. What's that like? What does that mean?
How do we do that kind of thing? I found joy in noticing that the Lord delights in us. He doesn't regret making us or putting us on this planet and using us.
He finds delight in that. Even in correcting us, He does so, as we will read, because He delights in us. I want to read for you from both a psalm and also a couple of verses in Proverbs 3. Turn to Psalm 127. I'm going to read the last three verses of that psalm, and then we'll look at Proverbs 3, 11 and 12.
I'll be reading from the New Living Translation. First, Psalm 127, beginning at verse 3. Children are a gift from the Lord. They are a reward from Him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior's hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them. Look at Proverbs chapter 3, verse 11. Next.
3, 11. My child, don't reject the Lord's discipline and don't be upset when He corrects you. For the Lord corrects those He loves. Just as a father corrects a child in whom He delights. There's that word again, in whom He delights.
You're listening to Insight for Living. To dig deeper into the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insight.org slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled Delighting in Your Kids and Grandkids. Many years ago, Cynthia and I had a Bible study in our home with about eight couples in all. We were much younger then. We all were about the same age and we're all in the same stage of life as we were having our families and beginning our lives in growing children in our home. It was a wonderful study. We met for 12 weeks in our little living room and it was pretty full with all those couples and all of us Christians, all of us together involved in our church where we were at the time and we knew each other well but as you know in a Bible study you get to know each other very well. It occurred to me as we had met for several weeks by then to ask a question that was a probing question. Designed first to make each one of us think and then to be painfully honest in our response.
This is what I ask all of them. Looking back, would you say that the home in which you were raised was a fun place to grow up? Were you loved?
Were you accepted? Was there lots of laughter and did you sense that your mom and dad delighted in you? Then I waited and gave them a few moments to think about it. Then I asked them if they wouldn't mind if this were true of them to raise their hands.
Of the 16 young adults in our living room, two raised their hands, one of the two reluctantly. That led, as you can imagine, to quite a discussion and a lot of tears. But that was then.
This is now. So let me ask you the same question. Without the raising of hands, simply ponder the question. Think seriously about it as you go back to your original home where you were reared.
Spend a few moments reliving it. Was it a healthy and wholesome and happy setting? Did you feel more often than not your mom and dad delighted in you?
Was there the fun, the sound of laughter in your home often as you were growing up delighting in our children? What a difference that word can make. We don't use it very much when we think of rearing children. As an example, if you look again at Proverbs 3 verse 12, you'll find the word as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
Isn't that an interesting context? Here is a father correcting a child because he delights in him. When children are neglected, they're not corrected. They're not guided with wise reproof. They're left pretty much on their own. And what an insecure feeling that is. But when parents care enough to confront, to correct, knowing that if this kind of attitude or action were to continue on unaddressed, it would work against the child as he or she grows up.
Needs to be corrected. And you do so because you delight in them. You find pleasure in their presence. You'll be interested to know, as I was, that the Hebrew term is colorful. It means to be pleased with, to find favor in.
It's used elsewhere in the Old Testament for acceptance and even enjoyment. Trust me on this. When a child feels accepted and enjoyed by his parents, it makes a world of difference in his sense of security or her sense of security. And there's nothing like having fun with our kids and taking the time to do so. It requires breaking with the old mold of every minute counts so we've got to stay serious about life. One young man put it in these words. This is the age of the half-read page and the quick hash and the mad dash, the bright night with the nerves tight, the plain hop with a brief stop, the lamp tan in a short span, the big shot in a good spot, and the brain strain and the heart pain, and the cat naps till the spring snaps and the fun is gone.
And the fun is gone. Speaking of having fun, I came across a marvelous true story about a family in Alabama several years ago with a very creative, fun-loving father. They owned a little camp that they were going to take a trip with and they were going to go from Alabama all the way out to California and stop at several places, of course, along the way to camp and to relax together, have fun together, spend nights out under the stars. A special route they were going to take and then when they got out west, they would stop at several significant places that they had looked forward to going to before they made the turn and came back to their home.
Regrettably, toward the end of their planning, which they had put together very carefully and well, the father told them that his business was such that he wasn't able to go with them. But he wanted them to go ahead without them and to have fun along the way and so he made sure as they sat down with a map that they would map out each part of the route they would take, every place they would stop, even some places they would eat that they were familiar with. And dragging that little tent camper along the way, he talked about the fun they would have and he'd miss them but they could talk together from time to time. He hugged and kissed them goodbye and waved as they left out the driveway and interesting it was what he didn't tell them that was the best part of the plan.
See, he didn't have to work. He bought a one-way ticket to fly to one of the towns he knew they would be going through. So he landed there, took a cab out to the edge of town, sat down on his backpack and his sleeping bag and waited for his vehicle in the distance to come by. Had a wide grin on his face and he saw the car and he stood up with his thumb hitchhiking. Can you imagine the kids, hey mom that's dad, that's dad.
Can you imagine that? They'd remember that more than any place they went on the trip. What a great guy. Somebody asked him later on, what would make you go to all that trouble and expense to do that kind of trick on your family?
He said, well, someday I'm going to die. And I want them to remember a dad who was fun to live with. Whoever once in a while surprised them with something they never would ever have expected.
I love that story. He delighted in his children. He spent time thinking about a way to build into their museum of memories such a permanent reminder that they would never forget dad on the side of the road hitching a ride. I thought, what if they had taken another route and gone south of there? You know me, the practical guy.
No, he had made it very clear, you take this route, that's where you're going to be. And on this day, this is where you're going to be. When you delight in your family, you love moments like that. The laughter is as big a memory as anything. I've often said I want the kids to remember me as the dad who threw their mother in the pool and lived to tell the story.
Throwing her in the pool is not a big thing. Living to tell the story is a big thing. Finding your family, we did it last night, had a number of our family members over, sat around the kitchen table and without any agenda, whatever, told stories, laughed, had a little Kentucky Fried Chicken together and a little soft drinks and sat around until night fell. Everybody laughed with a smile on their faces and we sat down in our favorite chairs in the family room and went over the memory of last night. One among many, we hope our kids will never forget. They're not all around, but you take what you have and you make the most of it. And what a great time it was. I love that story because it reminds me of the kind of thing you can plan when you think outside the box and you take time to have a little fun. Let me show you something from the Psalm we read. We may have read it over so quickly you missed the analogies.
There are three of them worth noting. Psalm 127 begins with children are a gift from the Lord. A gift from the Lord.
Last time we were together we talked about how children are formed in the womb and the Lord makes the child during that nine month period. Giving the child certain interests and inclinations. Certain skills.
Certain abilities. And then when the birth comes it's like he's wrapped a ribbon around the child with a little bow saying, here's my gift. Now, the child is a gift, not a liability. The child comes as a gift, not an accident. Your child comes into your home as a gift, not an interruption. As a gift, not merely a tax deduction, not a burden to bear, but a gift to open and delight in.
And notice the giver. No one else gives you the child, but the one who has made the child. The Lord. Made by God. Given by God. I wonder if your child realizes what a treasure she is to you and to your partner in life. I wonder if your son is growing up remembering, my folks thought of me as a gift. A treasured gift. We read the scriptures too hurriedly.
We don't marinate the words by taking time with them. The next analogy is equally valuable. They are a reward from him. A reward. I looked up the word reward in the dictionary.
Webster tells us that the term means a satisfying result. What a difference that makes in children when they realize how the Lord has satisfied us by bringing them into our lives. And there are moments along the way in life when we pause and let them know how special they are to us. Benjamin West was an artist in England and a good one.
Well known. On one occasion while growing up, his mother left him in charge of his little sister Sally. When she was gone, Benjamin noticed in a drawer some bottles of colored ink, permanent ink of course. He got the bottles out and he got a brush and he had Sally sit there and on the wall of his house he began to paint Sally. Nice portrait framed between this door and this window on the wall. When his mother came home, of course she looked past the mess and saw the picture and said, why Benjamin is Sally. She's beautiful.
And she reached down and kissed him. From that day on, Benjamin West said, my mother's kiss made me an artist. I know, I know. It was messy. Artists are messy. And there was probably ink that stained.
But unless I missed my guess, Mrs. West left that picture on the wall until the day of her death. What a treasure. What a reward. What is your child's gift? What is her inclination? What is she excited about? She's a reward.
Something that brings satisfaction. The third is equally intriguing. Children are like arrows in a warrior's hands.
Look at that. We're not too familiar with arrows unless you're an archer and most of us aren't. So we have to read about them to learn about them. Arrows, well, they are invaluable for a warrior in order for him to survive a battle. They're invaluable. Furthermore, they must be handled with care or damage could happen.
Third, and of course, perhaps the most important, they must be directed toward a specific target for their purpose to be fulfilled. That's our topic this week on Insight for Living. Our Bible teacher is pastor and author Chuck Swindoll.
Here at Insight for Living, we understand that sometimes your best learning happens apart from this daily radio program. So to help you dig deeper on your own, remember that every sermon you hear on this program is paired with online study notes. We call these resources Searching the Scriptures Studies. To take advantage of the free online documents and to dig into the Bible passages in the same way that Chuck does, go to insightworld.org slash studies. If it's a book you're looking to read, let me recommend a classic from Chuck called Parenting from Surviving to Thriving. You know, this would make a fabulous gift for a young family just getting started. To purchase a copy of Chuck Swindoll's book, Parenting from Surviving to Thriving, go to insight.org slash store or ask for it when you call us.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Well, maybe you can recall the day you first heard Chuck's Bible teaching on the family. We often hear from grateful friends who tell us their personal stories. Well, Insight for Living is infusing biblical truth into families all across the world.
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If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. You can also give online at Insight.org slash donate. Treat yourself to a vacation you'll never forget on the Insight for Living Ministries cruise to the great frontier with Chuck Swindoll. Honestly, I had no idea that a cruise to Alaska could be so much fun, and without a doubt the stunning views took my breath away. God's artistic genius is on full display in Alaska. In fact, I guarantee this, you'll come home refreshed and filled with awe for His majestic creation. Yeah, at one point our ship was getting chased by dolphins.
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The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll continues our study about delighting in your kids and grandkids next time on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Delighting in Your Kids and Grandkids, was copyrighted in 2022 and 2023, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2023 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited. This is a violation of applicable laws and should not be a violation of applicable laws.
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