The Battle for what’s most important

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:4 NASB

How does this picture translate in our day?

The parents were exhausted, running on fumes.

“Our 9 year old plays football on a team with other 9 year olds. In the weeks leading up to the season they practiced 2 hours a day Monday through Saturday. Now they practice three nights a week plus a game on the weekend. After practice it is homework for at least a couple hours, which requires one of us to basically do their work. BTW, I really resent having to do the homework. We seem to be going through the motions in our marriage and everything else. Help!?!”

Time is our most valuable commodity. And is it any wonder the enemy of our souls would bring “good things” and “the American dream” to entangle us?

Jesus addressed this in his Parable of the Sower. “The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.” Mark 4:18-19 MSG

Do you ever feel strangled or choked out by activity? Is your relationship with Jesus just kind of “there” but never in focus?

First of all, we need to continually lay everything before God in prayer asking for wisdom.

Secondly, we can ruthlessly evaluate our calendar and cut out things that keep us from health and wholeness. One family I know put a moratorium on kid’s sports for a year and instead planned a weekly family fun night. Another family decided to serve the poor together once a week and then go out for dinner together. One couple told their kids that they were going to work on their marriage and start having a date night but that meant the kids could only be involved in one activity outside of school. Another couple established three family nights a week at home in which nothing would be planned.

Finally, don’t be surprised there is a price to pay. It is much easier to “do what everyone else is doing” versus suffering the backlash of “Oh my gosh, your 9 year old isn’t playing on the team this year? What kind of freak are you?”

It is a challenge to find ways to facilitate friendships while saying “no” to some activities. It isn’t easy to sit down with your spouse and kids to discuss the best and healthiest plan for an upcoming season. Praying together about it can also be hard.

I’m not saying to avoid all sports activities. Nor am I saying to stay at home and do nothing.

I’m saying let’s raise our kids to make hard decisions because they’ve watched us do it. Let’s teach them to sacrifice the good for the best. Let’s train them to understand you don’t always get what you want and you have to deal with it. Welcome to the real world.

Let’s raise them to know marriage is something we protect, prioritize and build for life. Let’s teach them to reevaluate everything in the light of what is most important. When they hear the words of Jesus they’ll have a reference point because they’ve watched us “seek first the kingdom of God” and heard us reframe our lives with that as our goal.

Running on fumes? Entangled? You’ve been enlisted by Jesus, the One who was more “in demand” than anyone else. He understands. If you seek to please Him, He will guide and refresh you!

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