The Sacrifices We Make

What would you give up for your child?

If you’re like most parents, you would pretty much give up anything- your money (ha, which you do), your sleep (ditto), your health, your opportunities. We spend time, money, and energy making sure that our kids have the opportunities they need to grow and become all that they can be. For the past several weeks I’ve been spending all three of those things creating developmentally appropriate activities to do with each kid to help them to reach some goals we’ve set for them by the end of the year. Some of those nights I would have much rather been reading, writing or scrapbooking, but, that’s what a mom will do.

But here’s a trickier question- what would you give up for someone else’s child?

I remember Bill Hybels from Willow Creek Church say that he told his congregation during a big back-to-school clothes/shoes/supplies drive to buy the same quality of clothes or shoes or school supplies that they would buy for their own child. If you shop at Walmart, buy clothes from walmart for the drive. If you shop at Gap Kids, buy from Gap Kids. If you normally spend $100 on a pair of shoes for your kid, buy a $100 pair of shoes for the drive. I wonder what the congregation actually did, because you see, it’s hard to sacrifice for someone else’s child.

This is the question that the editors of Conspire offer in “Our Children, Our Souls.”

In a world that insists that resources are scarce, where the playing field is fractured with structured and intentional inequality, children force us to confront directly this question: ‘Who am I willing to sacrifice so that my own live well?’

This question haunts me.

And if you are a follower of Jesus, it should probably haunt you as well.

Are you willing to give up some of your time for other children? Are you willing to give up a little money for other children? Are you willing to give up a little energy and hard work for other children?

Are you willing to give up some of your children’s opportunities in order to create good for other children? If giving up “best” for your child meant moving another child from “bad” to “good”, would you do it?

These are the things I think about as I play and love and dream with my three precious little children. I want the best for them something fierce. But as I pray for God to break my heart for the things that break His, I’m beginning to realize that while He entrusted these children to my care, I would be failing Him and them if I just did what I could to give them the best opportunities in life. He wants them to care deeply for others. He wants them to learn to love kids who are really different from them in all kinds of ways. He wants them to fight injustice and dream of ways to show compassion for those on the margins, even if they don’t recognize what that means. You see, sometimes what I think is best isn’t what God thinks is best.

Father, give me wisdom and courage to raise these children in ways that would love you and love others. Help me to love others, not only as I love myself, but also as I love my children.

3 thoughts on “The Sacrifices We Make

  1. Tiff, did you ever find scripture to negate/support the idea of “my own family comes first” from a previous facebook discussion? I can’t get it out of my head. I do feel like its my job to teach daniel preschool, but not really my job to teach my neighbor’s kid preschool. I think its his mom’s job to prepare him and work with him to be the best. Is this a case of bad attitude?

  2. oh bethany, a bad attitude? I don’t think so at all. It’s a normal and very understandable attitude. It’s what is pretty much taught by our society. But, I think it may be a short-sited attitude.

    In the Gospels, there are plenty of places where Jesus rejects the preference for biological family. When calling one of His disciples, the disciple asked if he could go back and bury his father (which meant, wait for his father to die, then bury him because that was what was expected of a son to do). But Jesus said, no, you can’t. let him bury himself. you come with me. In fact, Jesus said that we have to hate our own mother and father and child if we are going to follow him. Whoa, I know, right? Maybe not literally hate them, but I think what he’s saying there is that we have to allow the gospel (gospel isn’t salvation, it’s living a life of love towards God and other people, including social justice kind of issues) to come before our desire to take care of “us”.

    I’ll write more about this question because it’s been something i’ve been studying some for awhile since that discussion too.

    Bethany, this is hard stuff, and I’m in the same boat as you, reality being concerned (I do activities with my three kids and no one elses, etc.) BUT, I hope that through discussion, encouragement and prayer, we can all help one another take the next step in our walk with Christ, specifically as it relates to our job of parenting.

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