Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book Club: Ministry of Motherhood: Chp 17-18

Chapter 17: Compassionate Harvest--A Model for Service

This chapter opens with a retelling of Jesus' famous words: "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."  Clarkson does her customary storytelling to set the scene: weary disciples questioning their future, a Savior desperate to use every moment, and an "AHA!"moment when all is revealed.  She applies this story to the motherhood mission with these words: "Giving our children the gift of service is not really a matter of teaching what to do.  It's more a matter of helping them look at other people through Jesus' eyes and respond as he did (pg 181)."

She goes on to talk about how "strategic" our Christian walk has become, to the point where we often overlook the mundane tasks that can mean just as much.  The following observation was made on page 183: "Yet, I can't help but think that one reason Christianity has lost influence is that Christians have not found it convenient to respond to real needs the way Jesus did-- ministering to real people, teaching God's Word, and serving people humbly and lovingly."  How are we demonstrating this to our children?  In those moments when their needs are very real to them, how are we responding?

And into the world outside our doors, how are we including our children in ministering to others?  Even with young children, opportunities abound.  From feeding the homeless man on the street, to participating in a coat drive, to reaching out in your own neighborhood, there are so many opportunities if we will take the time to pray for open eyes.  It often won't be convenient, but it will always be worthwhile.

*Jesus never asks us to do what he has not already been willing to do.  John 15:13 states the Lord's definition of the greatest love a person could give.  How did he show this kind of love for us?  If you strive to follow his example, how would it change the way you parent your children?

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends--John 15:13

Parenting from this perspective always requires us to lay down our own agendas.  For me, it requires laying down my time frame.  I'm a doer.  I wanna get things done, get them done now and more on.  But including kids in ministry is messy.  It takes time.  It requires us to lay down our agendas because we're not just getting a job done, but we're also disciplining them in both the task and in how they view others.

*Name three ways in which you have laid down your own life (goals, time or expectations) for your children.  In what specific areas do your children need to learn how to lay down their own lives and expectations so they can become mature and ready to serve God?

3 Ways-- Time constraints, time to write, "motherhood perfection"

Chapter 18: Serving with a Willing Heart

Clarkson shares a story in which she asked her children to serve in a community outreach.  Her boys were having a pity party and didn't want an part of it.  However, upon returning home, they realized the had a wonderful time, and God used their own unique personalities to bless others.  Her philosophy is not to shame her kids for their natural selfishness (or shyness, or personality traits), but rather to encourage them into places of seeing God move.

I'm still mulling on that one.  It's a fine line we walk between shame and encouragement.  While this wasn't her point, it does requires wisdom on our part.

*In Luke 10:30-37, Jesus tells the parable of the good Samaritan.  Read this story to your children.  Ask them why the Samaritan, who was not a religious Jew, was considered to be the one who did God's will.    What does this teach about how God wants us to act in our daily lives?

So my question is... how is your parenting changing (being challenged, being proven) in light of our reading?

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