“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21
Now that my boys are older, a lot of the things I assign them to do during the day, school and chores, are carried out without the need of my direct supervision. Yet, I still make it a practice every couple of weeks to check in on how diligent they have been with the freedom they have been given.
Sadly, yesterday morning I was not very pleased when I found that one child was almost 40 pages behind in his reading and the other child had a room so messy that I was not sure if there was even a floor under it. My first reaction to their lack of diligence was the thought that I needed to point a finger at the problem and make them solve it, but after a fair amount of prayer I felt led by the Lord to approach the situation the same way Samuel approached David when David needed to be set straight – I told them the following parable at the breakfast table:
There once was a very gifted car maker who made the most beautiful hand-crafted cars. He was so popular in his trade that he could name his price for his custom made automobiles and many people called on him from all over the world for his expertise in automobile design and engineering. This car maker also had a son whom he loved to have in his shop so he could share with his son the joy he experienced in making these custom cars.
As time went by, the father desired for his son to learn his trade and the boy was a diligent learner to start and so the father gave him some chores that would help to build his son’s knowledge of the business from the ground up. But over time, the son found his chores of putting the tools and supplies away and cleaning the shop becoming boring and tedious. The son started devising ways to get what needed to be done quicker (even though it wasn’t as through) so he would have more time to drive the custom cars and go to the fancy seminars his father spoke at and spend less time working in the shop doing the work he was assigned.
Well, the time came when the father was starting to feel he needed to step back from his business, and yet he was distressed at the lack of diligence his son had shown in taking care of the shop. The father approached his son and said that he was not willing to give his business over to his son because the little things, like cleaning the shop and organizing the tools and parts, were not given priority over the more flashy and fun parts of the business. He told his son that in his years of being a business owner he had experienced his success only because he was willing to do the small, unnoticed things with the same integrity as the things which brought him notoriety.
As I finished my story, I asked my boys: “Do you think the father was being fair?” Of course they both agreed with me. Then, I turned the tables and told them that I was the father and they were the son. I reminded them of the time and effort I put each day into preparing the lessons I teach them and that if they are not diligent in doing the things that I have carefully laid before each of them and care for the things they have been given charge of in the house and on our farm, then when bigger opportunities arise I may not be able to entrust to them those special privileges. I further went on to remind them that the tasks and responsibilities they have before them each day are not just items to check off their lists each day, but training tools to help them succeed in the lives set before them.
Well, the message hit home for both of them. By the end of the day there were efforts being made to catch up on missed assignments and a plan set in motion so by a certain date a room would be cleaned. At the end of the day I went to bed, resting in the assurance that God touched both of their hearts and gave them a much more meaningful lesson than any nagging or finger-pointing from me could have done. I pray that these lessons in being faithful servants will not be forgotten, but rather be remembered and used as God leads each of my boys on the paths He has set before them.
Each day is a new adventure in parenting and I am so glad that I am not left to rest on my own wisdom. Today was just another reminder for me also, that I too need to be faithful in training my children because I am not only learning lessons that will help me in the future be a better mother, but I am also learning lessons I need to share with others who need to be equipped and encouraged to keep being faithful in raising the children God has put into their homes.