Elyse Fitzpatrick and her daughter, Jessica Thompson, write in their book, Give Them Grace:
“Raising good kids is utterly impossible unless they are drawn by the Holy Spirit to put their faith in the goodness of another. You cannot raise good kids, because you are not a good parent. There is only one good Parent, and he had one good Son. Together, this Father and Son accomplished everything that needed to be done to rescue us and our children from certain destruction. When we put our faith in him, he bestows the benediction upon us: “These are My beloved children, with whom I am well pleased” (see Matt. 3:17).
Give this grace to your children: tell them who they really are, tell them what they need to do, and then tell them to taste and see that the Lord is good. Give this grace to yourself, too.” (p. 50)
And later, they summarize this formula as a helpful way to process what they’re saying: “Good parenting in, good children out.” (p. 52)
The point is… no one is good, not one, and we all need to be rescued from our sinful-selves in a sin-filled world and we need protection from sin-soaked Satan. Jesus Christ is the only one, the one good Son, who rescues us, redeems us, stands for us, and reigns over all. He is our Lord and Savior. Parenting steeped in this gospel is good parenting and tastes like the grace and love of Jesus. Put that in their sippy cup.
When I take one of my children out to spend some time together, we usually find our way to a local watering hole. For them, it’s a big treat to pick out and sip on a beverage all to themselves. Almost every time, our little adventure is concluded with a short sigh and “Daddy, are you ready to go so I can show so and so my cool/ fancy/ tasty drink?” I sit for a moment and think, “Yes, but what’s the hurry? Did this kid forget who got the drink for them? I mean there’s more where that came from.” Then, I say, “Sure. Let’s go.” We get home. “Hey everybody! Look, look! Daddy got me this cool/ fancy/ tasty drink. Wanna try it?! It’s so good.”
So it is and ought to be with us, our Heavenly Father, and those around us. He offers us the gift of his Kingdom, his Son, and his grace. What do we do with it?
Look at your city and consider all the complexities, the mess, the injustice, the narcissism, the hustle & bustle, the fear, the sadness, the made-up satisfaction, and the darkness. Say to yourself, “[insert name here], Jesus could have been ruler over this city two thousand years ago, but he chose to die for its people instead. Thus, he entrusted himself to God our Father, who’s plan is perfect, eternal, certain and crowns him the king of everything in the end.” So you see? King Jesus closed on your city years ago so you can move in and follow after him. It is most glorifying to himself to call you, a sinner saved by his grace, as a participant in his work to save people, to save a city, to save the world. Is the task overwhelming, ominous, and likely impossible? Yes. Are people, including yourself, hard to love? Yes. Will you feel lonely, exhausted, and hopeless? Yes, BUT… God has this city, this world, in his hands. God rules over time. Jesus has redeemed a people in this city and called you and others to go to them to share with them the gospel and your lives, as well. Pray to the Father, fix your eyes on Jesus, walk by the Spirit, and quickly now, you must go! We all must go; we’re not alone. His kingdom is full of wonder and glory. His cross and resurrection have made the impossible possible and all things new. Jesus has opened up a highway to our great God. It’s not you, it’s his grace, irresistible, unimaginable, intoxicating, and forever changing us. This grace is what you are taking to these people, this city and the whole world. Go! (think of what will be)