We’ll finish this series on Sharing the Good News by considering the burdens and blessings of spiritual parenting.
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. (Gal 4:19-20)
But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy. (1Th 2:17-20)
The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3Jo 1:1-4)
Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. (Phi 4:1)
I Travail in Birth Again
Paul experienced the pangs of his children’s growth pains. He longed for them to be like Christ. He was emotionally invested into their lives. This is one of the hard parts about making disciples. You have to care. It’s messy, it’s time-consuming, it can be disappointing and discouraging. That’s one of the reasons so few Christians make disciples.
No Greater Joy
Paul called the Thessalonian believers his, “glory and joy.” John said, “I have no greater joy han to hear that my children walk in truth.” It’s a thrill to see those you have led to Christ take their first steps – baptism and church membership. It’s rewarding to see follow them walk with the Lord and grow in grace. And what matches the thrill of learning that you’re a spiritual grandparent?
Paul had a long-term view of spiritual parenting. He knew that the toil and the tears it cost him in this world would be well worth it when Christ returned. He knew that his disciples would be his his hope, his joy, his crown of rejoicing “in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming.”
The wealth we accumulate, the buildings we build, our inventions and accomplishments – all of it will perish. The one thing we can take with us to Heaven are the people we have led to Christ and the Christians we have influenced for good. They are jewels – eternal treasures. To lay up this heavenly treasure, you must share the good news.
What About You?
- Are you laying up treasure in Heaven?
- Are you a good spiritual parent?
Next week, Progressive Devotions will present a one week series by Nathan Gardner. Then we’re off to Louisville for a week of vacation: 30th anniversary celebration, wife’s birthday, visiting new grandson, etc. After that, we’ll begin a series on prayer.