What would you do if you were given a bank account of eighty-six thousand dollars a day? If each morning there would be eighty thousand dollars on your bank account and each evening what you had not used that day would be gone? At the end of each day your account would be blank. Of course, if you had such a bank account you would draw it all out each morning and use as much as possible. And I’m sure you wouldn’t just throw it away. But you would ask yourself: “How can I best spend it? What are the most useful and most valuable things that I can buy with it?”
We all have some such a bank account. Each day God gives us eighty-six thousand seconds. And the seconds we don’t use are lost at the end of the day. They are gone, and we can never get them back again. But when a new day is born there are eighty-six thousand new seconds waiting to be used. We shall want to use them in the best possible way. So we shall ask ourselves each new day, “What are the most useful and most valuable ways of using my seconds today?” For one thing we’d want that which is the most valuable for the longest time.
For example. Suppose you go to market to buy food for your family. When you arrive the only things left are four barrels of avocados, ten cans of milk, and a cow. Now, avocados are delicious and nutritious, but you couldn’t possibly eat more than one barrel before they would spoil. The same with the mille It would be sour before your family could drink a tenth of it. You’d naturally buy the cow because then you’d have fresh milk every day, plus cream for whipping and making butter, and buttermilk besides. And when the cow is no longer good for producing milk, you’d still have hamburger to eat and leather for slippers.
Now in the same manner we must decide what are the most valuable things to strive for in our lives. As Christian mothers our first reaction would be, “Why, life eternal I What could be more valuable or for a longer time?” As Christians we have eternal life, because the Bible says that he that believeth on Jesus hath eternal life in him. And so as Christian mothers we want more than anything else to see our children have that same eternal life in them. That is why we baptized them and promised to do all in our power to lead them through Christ to God.
In this task we face many problems. Perhaps the greatest barrier is formed by our own inconsistencies. We want to teach our children to praise God, and they hear us singing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” But then they hear us describe our farms, our homes, our cars, our washers and dryers, not first of all as a blessing from God, but pure1y as a product of hard work. On another occasion a child is sick, and they hear us pray, “Dear God, make little sister, or baby brother well again.” But when he is well they hear us speak about the wonders of penicillin, or of the cleverness of our doctor who immediately diagnosed the case correctly. Again, we pray for a safe journey, and when we arrive safely we flippantly remarks, “Yes, the roads were good.”
Children have a keen sense of intuition or feeling, When we pray for a thing and later give credit to sources other than God, it should not surprise us that our children cannot see the importance of prayer.
As Christian mothers we face the problem of our inconsistencies. But how can we overcome them? I believe the best and surest way is through prayer. Listen to what God promises us: “And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” So let’s take God at his Word. He says, “every need of yours.” When we wake up in the morning. then, let’s pray that God will give us courage to admit that it is only his Hand moving along the highway which leads us safely to our destination. that only our Lord God can make penicillin and streptomycin effective. that God alone is responsible for giving us conveniences and blessings far beyond the fondest dreams of many people in other lands.
In order to teach our children Christlike living by our personal example, we must pray without ceasing. To be a mother is a great responsibility, but through prayer a Christian mother has access to a reservoir of strength that never runs dry. And when we fail, we fail because we do not drink freely enough from God’s reservoir of blessings. We worry about our health or the health of our children, we are anxious about meeting monthly payments, for car, tuition, and other things. We worry about the weather because if it doesn’t rain the crop will be a failure, But all our handwringing, fretting, and nail-biting does not produce one drop of rain, meet a single payment, or produce rosy cheeks on our children. The fact is we do have cares, and the only way to deal with them is to turn each one into a prayer. Then every care will be a benefit to you. Then you will have grace to walk one step at a time, and God will give you strength for each trial, grace for each day.
Yes, our personal example is an important part of bringing our children through Christ to God. But our example cannot stand alone. The Word must accompany it. And, still more important, the two must harmonize. If all our talents and all our energies are directed in one great effort to gain a little chunk of this earth for ourselves, as if that is all-important, then it will be hard to convince our child that to save his soul is more profitable than to gain the whole world. But neither can he come to understand the value of his immortal soul unless we tell him, “Son, nothing in this world is profitable if you have a lost soul.”
And who is better fit to impart such wisdom than a mother? God has made you the mother of your children. He has placed their little souls in yow-hands to mold. There is nobody with as many opportunities of explaining, both by deed and word, the eternal value of his soul as mother. It is true, we do not all have equal abilities and equal tact. But if we pray, God will use and bless whatever abilities we do have. He has promised; “Be not anxious how or what ye shall speak; for it shall he given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” Let’s use what abilities we have, and use them at once.
One of the favorable opportunities for a spiritual chat with your child is at night when it is bed time. It is easy to slip into the habit of saying, “Jump in bed now. You can pray by yourself can’t you?” Oh, let’s not miss such an occasion simply because we’re tired. This day’s opportunity will never come back. If we don’t make we of it it will be gone. But kneel by his bed~side together and teach him to pray.
Did Johnny kick Mary today? Teach him then to pray, “I’m sorry, Lord, that I kicked Mary. Please forgive me. Help me to show love instead, as Jesus wants me to.”
This is also an excellent time to encourage your child by telling some of your own spiritual experiences. Most of our children display at times outbursts of uncontrolled anger. We can be a real help to them by telling them about our own struggles against a bad temper. For example, remind them that God says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will help you.”
Your experience may be similar to mine. When I was a little girl, I had a very bad temper. One day a boy threw a stone and hit me in the leg. This made me furious. So I picked up a big rock and hurled it at him as hard as I could. He jumped up so that instead of hitting him, the rock bounced and went through the back window of a car. I scampered hurriedly down the river-bank and hid under an old shack before the driver of the car could catch and punish me. With pounding heart I then prayed to God that be would take my evil temper away, so that I wouldn’t do such a thing again. However, a few days later I felt the same burning anger inside me. From then on I asked God each morning to help me show love instead of anger. still ask him each morning and he has helped me. He will help you too, for, what he’s done for others hell do for you. God means it when he says, “Call upon me…and I will help you.”
Mothers, if we do this for our children, they too win feel that God is real to their soul.
A mother holds a most powerful influence in molding the little lives God has entrusted to her. Who knows, beneath the rosy cheek you’ve kissed good-night may lie another John Calvin or Johanna Veenstra? At any rate you know that tucked beneath the blankets beats the heart of a little lamb belonging to the flock of the Good Shepherd.
God grant it to be so.
Lord God in Heaven. It makes us tremble to think that we have eternal souls in our care. The responsibility of leading and training these souls is too much for us alone. Help us to pray without ceasing. And supply all our needs, small and great, according to Thy riches in Christ Jesus. Amen.