Imagine a television camera, far in the future, panning the living room of the Rienow home. The walls are plastered with achievement awards and first-place ribbons. Athletic trophies glimmer from their perch on the top of the piano. Photographs of our children and grandchildren gaze at us from the mantle. My wife, Amy, and I are home together on our first night as empty nesters. “We did it!” I announce. “All the children are smart, athletic, popular, and polite. Our work is done.” This scene oozes with the feeling of parenting success at every level. But is it possible to have all these things and miss what matters most? What if our children and grandchildren do not know God and His plan for their lives? Sometimes I feel as if just getting through each day is a success. I can get so caught up in what is urgent that I give no attention to what is important. Have you ever stopped to imagine who your children will be when they are twenty years old? What character traits will they have? How will they see the world? What will they believe? Where will they stand with God? Keep turning the pages of the calendar. Can you picture your children when they are fifty? They will be coming down the homestretch of raising your grandchildren. Will they have taught your grandchildren to love God? Will they be making a difference in their neighborhood for Christ? Turn some more calendar pages. Consider your sons or daughters at age eighty. You have likely entered the life to come, and they are now grandparents to your great-grandchildren. What sort of legacy will your children have left for their grandchildren? For their world? Will theirs be a story of faith and character? Where will they stand with God? If we are not intentional with our parenting, we run the risk of ending up with a family filled with achievement, recreation, and niceness. God has a far grander plan for us and for our children. He created our families for a purpose – a Gospel-driven, Kingdom-expanding purpose!
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