In my last post, I mentioned I had recently finished some really good books while on vacation the last few weeks. In a bit, I’m going to get into discussing one of them, but before I do that, I wanted to start with my ponderings on a portion of Psalm 37 that I reflected upon during one of my quiet times this past week.
Psalm 37: 23-26:
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, And He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing.”
A couple of things that struck me when reading this passage:
First of all, now that I have a precious three year old gift from God that holds my hand daily, the tenderness that is portrayed by our Lord and Savior holding our hand and preventing us from being “hurled headlong” (presumably unto destruction) is absolutely stunning to think about. I’m quite obviously imperfect and horribly flawed, but I know one thing – I love my little man as much as my imperfect heart will allow and you better believe that when I hold his hand across the street, up the stairs, in a crowded store, through Times Square, etc., I am doing it because I LOVE him so much and want to PROTECT him. Imagine just how LOVED we, as believers, are by a PERFECTLY holy and righteous Lord and Savior and imagine just how PROTECTED we are by this PERFECTLY holy and righteous Lord and Savior. It’s earth shattering!!!! If that’s not a reason to stoop to your knees and praise Him, I don’t know what is!!!
Secondly, on first read, I interpreted the above passage to mean that our Lord is “gracious and lends.” Then it struck me that the “he” in that particular verse (verse 26) is not uppercase (whereas, the “He” when referencing the Lord in other verses (like verse 23) is uppercase). So, why is this so important, might you ask?
Because in this particular passage, the only definition of the “righteous” that we are given is that the righteous are “gracious and lend” (i.e. this isn’t referring to the Lord, but instead to the righteous man). In essence, the righteous…SERVE…
Which brings me to one of the books I just finished – “Raising Kids for True Greatness” by Tim Kimmel. It’s also, to a much lesser degree than the Word of God, earth shattering.
To quote Dr. Kimmel, “What is your goal when it comes to raising children? If you’re like most parents, the word success is somewhere in your answer. We all want the very best for our children. We want them to get a good education, have prestigious jobs, live in safe neighborhoods, marry spouses who are easy to look at, and someday have wonderful children of their own.”
“But is that enough? Is that all we want our children to be – merely successful?”
“It may surprise you to learn that we don’t really need God’s help to raise successful kids, especially ones aimed at these standard goals of success. Our unchurched friends and neighbors are raising their children to reach those same goals, and most of them do an exceptional job of preparing their kids for a successful life. I have little doubt that most of their children will grow up to achieve their parents’ dreams for them.”
“But a person can be successful without coming close to being truly GREAT. And wouldn’t we all rather aim our children toward true greatness?”
“I’m not saying that there’s anything inherently wrong with getting a good education, making a nice living, and being well known. These things are fine additions to an adult life – but they shouldn’t be the primary goals we set for our children. That’s because man-made success has little to do with true greatness.”
“Here’s what I’m suggesting in this book: if we’re aiming our children at success, we’re aiming far too low….As we will see throughout this book, true greatness is a passionate love for God that demonstrates itself in an unquenchable love and concern for others.”
End of the quoting… I don’t know about all of you, but “true greatness” from “Raising Kids for True Greatness” sounds a lot to me like the righteous man of Psalm 37 who is “gracious and lends.”
They both appear to be pointing back to the heart of Jesus…the Servant King…
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45
If we are striving to be righteous, we need to be serving others. If we want to demonstrate righteousness to our kids, we need to be serving others. If we want to show Jesus (the Righteous One) to our kids, we need to be serving others and encouraging them to do the same.
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” – Galatians 5:13