Tuesday’s morning drive to school was as dreary in the Snodgrass van as it was outside. No positive and encouraging songs coming from K-LOVE, no cheerful chitter chatter about the day ahead, just the dismal sound of my voice reverberating off the ears of two miniature teenagers with crossed arms and disgruntled faces. Lectures are the worst way to start off a morning. As much as I dread giving them, I know it’s no snow day for the girls either. I guess lectures are part of the parenting gig. I have come to accept them as well as the girls have come to expect them. This one was a doozy, because no doubt my words pierced the ears of at least one of us.
Right now, Chloe struggles with her learning in school, and I struggle with how to teach her the importance of caring about her learning. My concern for her runs much deeper than grades. It’s not the grade I want her to focus on. It’s putting forth her best effort, no matter what grade she gets. No number can define who she is, but a Christ-like character can determine Whose she is.
As parents, all Kevin and I ask and expect from our children is their best effort, not their best performance. We pray they honor God with all He has blessed them with. We ache for them to not just to do enough to get by in life, but to soar through life with flying colors. We pray they trust God for what He has entrusted them with that they may soar high “on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint”. This requires, discipline, diligence, and desire. Often we expect the rewards without the effort. We crave the glory without the guts to back it up.
As words spilled from my mouth, I felt the Lord speaking to me through them. “Jill that’s true. Are you listening to your advice?” As the misty rain accumulated into fat drops on the windshield, so did tears in my eyes. Many times, I find God teaching me through me teaching my children. Compelled to clarify the reason for tears, I assured the girls God was also teaching me this lesson.
If we want more for our children than just what’s satisfactory, how much more does our Heavenly Father want His children to shine?
I am reminded of Paul’s words:
Don’t you realize in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. -1 Corinthians 9: 24-26
All God’s children who have trusted Christ as their personal Savior are on the path to heaven. But, what rewards wait there for those who run with God’s purpose and run the race well. When God is Who you’re sprinting towards, you receive much more than what your striving for. He’s well-known for turning an insufficient amount into inexhaustible abundance.
God desires discipline in our lives for what really matters, kingdom work with eternal rewards. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with working hard for earthly rewards like grades, promotions, trophies, and other prizes that are commendable. God esteems those things too. After all, His grace allows us to obtain those rewards. But, while on earth, our purpose and perspective in our short lived life will forever impact our eternal life in heaven.
As Christmas day draws near, I am reminded of why we are here. Jesus. It’s not what we live for on this earth that matters, but Who we live for.
Tuesday may have been a dreary day, but one glorious day, the books will be opened and I will give an account for all I have done for my Father’s kingdom. I pray my Heavenly Father smiles on me, knowing that I did much more than just get by; that through my service to Him, He was glorified.