What Should Parents Be Working Toward?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Roles of Family Members, Part 11

by Steve Ham on January 17, 2011

Steve Ham, AiG–U.S. shows that Christian parents must rest in the Lord rather than chase after the world’s wares.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:2)

Today’s big question: what should parents be working toward?

The early bird catches the worm. If you want to get the goods, you have to get up early, work hard, and go to bed late. The world will tell you that you can reach for anything you want and determine your own destiny. Sadly, so will some churches.  The message today is that if you can work hard enough and smart enough, you can provide anything you want for you and your family—the great American dream.

In today’s passage, the Psalmist reveals that when our eyes are not on God, our hard work will only bring anxiety or sorrow. Basically, if our view of security is in the things of this world, we are reaching for a false security.

In Hebrews 11:13–15 we read about some of the great men of faith (Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, etc.) who realized that they were strangers in a foreign land and lived their life in view of their heavenly home. This is much the same message that we see for the family in this great psalm. Our security is not found in the things of this world, and we will never find rest while toiling for material possessions or earthly treasures. True rest is only ever found in God.

Psalm 127, and particularly this verse, is a great reminder to all parents to take stock of what we are doing. Some parents have no choice but to work long hours to just keep bread on the table. At the same time, some are working extra hard to secure the latest Xbox or Playstation, or even a bigger house or newer car.

There is nothing wrong with hard work. In fact, the Bible commands us to work hard and to do “all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:16). Anxiously toiling for the things of this world rather than spending time helping our children grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord is a direct misplacement of parental responsibility. The second part of this psalm teaches us to prioritize for our family carefully. Working hard for material possessions is never a replacement for godly parenting. 

The Apostle Paul summed this up in one small but important sentence. “Now, godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Contentment for our families is found in godliness.    

Today’s big idea: rest in God and don’t toil for this world.

What to pray: seek the Lord for the conviction to prioritize resting in Him.    

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.