For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
Here is a great passage for parents! Writing to the Thessalonians, Paul likens his dealing with the believers to a father's interaction with his children. We learn from this passage that there are three things parents should be doing.
- Encourage. The Greek word here is parakaleo. It means "to call to one's side," "to summon," "to invite." The purpose of the invitation is to build confidence and courage into the heart. Many times the word is translated "comfort." Parents, what a great reminder of what we should be doing. Let's build up our children!
- Comfort. This word means "to console." It is used in John 11 when Lazarus died. Many friends came to "console" Mary and Martha. Sometimes our children don't need more instruction or a lesson on how we handled a similar situation. Sometimes we need to replace our "walking uphill both ways in the snow" stories with sympathy. Parents, let's demonstrate needed compassion.
- Urge. This word means "to insist" or "implore." You are the parent! There are some things that you must be adamant about. Being firm is not a fault. Being resolute is not wrong. Leaders lead ... but don't miss the goal: "to live lives worthy of God." We're not talking about batting averages here. We are talking about deliberately building into our children the framework of spiritual urgency that will allow them to make an impact with their lives in their sphere of influence.
Parenting is intentional work. Let's pray that God gives us the strength and courage to lead our children well.
Father, give me a passion to be the parent You desire me to be. May I encourage, comfort, and urge my children to be those who have a burning desire to follow hard after You. In Christ's name. Amen.