The Marriage and Family Life Reading Plan, Day 11

Today’s reading is drawn from Matthew 25:21 and Colossians 3:23.

Teach them the Value of Excellence

When your children listen to you speak or watch you work, do they get the idea that believers in Jesus Christ should strive for excellence in everything they do? Do they see you working wholeheartedly for the Lord, and not for men? We believe this should be one of our primary tasks, to use both our words and our actions to encourage our children toward a life of excellence.

Of course, we do not mean attaining perfection or applying identical standards to every child. Rather, we propose that within their God-given capabilities every child be challenged to rise above the crowd, to seek higher standards of achievement, and to become all that God has gifted him or her to be.

This was a real challenge, especially during the years when we had four teenagers living in our home. There’s always tension between understanding a child’s talent and ability and stretching them to attainable goals. Many times my wife and I would pray and ask God if we were too lenient, and on other occasions we’d ask Him if we were too tough. In every situation, it was our dependence upon God that helped us decide and trust Him with both the process and the results.

Training children to step above mediocrity also helps them reject mediocrity in their relationships with God. Jesus pointed to a coming day when God will say to His diligent children, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.”

It is our job as parents to teach our children to be trustworthy, to fulfill their commitments, and to do a good job even when nobody is looking. In the end, they need to learn to do their work “heartily, as to the Lord.”

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