The rain poured with no sign of letting up.
As I glanced down at the grocery bags in my hand, I was thankful my husband had encouraged me to do my errands solo. People scurried through the parking lot dodging puddles, and I decided to make a dash for it.
I climbed in our van only slightly soaked and immediately reached for the bag, searching for one thing—Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Perhaps my craving was prompted by the thought of my husband’s impending mission trip to Africa for two weeks while I stayed home alone with our four kids (six and under). I had invested in quite a stash for those moments when I might need to hide in the closet of my bedroom.
Or perhaps it was that bright orange commercial. You know the one: peanut butter and chocolate, an unforgettable combination. Only, by the number of times I had seen the same commercial, I was not convinced they believed it was REALLY unforgettable since they were determined to keep reminding me of it over and over again.
With the rain steadily tapping on the window, I looked at the clock. I still had some time before naps would be over and I needed to be home to start dinner. I had hoped for a comfy chair in the local coffee shop, but this would have to do. At least it was quiet. Getting settled comfortably in my seat with my unforgettable chocolate-y peanut butter treat, I found the place where I left off in the book I was reading:
“Advertisers repeat their message . . . They know it will take more than one exposure for their message to be absorbed. If it didn’t need repetition, they would create quick and inexpensive ads that aired only once. . . . The world gets it! Shaping ideas requires long-term interaction with long-range goals and 100 percent saturation.
It’s the same message for every generation—but slickly tailored to the hot buttons of each. The underlying message is ME! I deserve . . . I want . . . I will be happy if . . . I can’t live without . . . These messengers tell us and our children how to think about life, themselves, other people, and God.”
I reread it and thought about how the world does not get tired of bombarding me or my children with their message about everything—from how to think and live, to the goodness of chocolate. I had to laugh a little at that truth as I finished off the last of my peanut butter cup.
But then with sadness and regret, I recounted the tired, frustrated words that came from my lips earlier that day. The ones that had prompted my husband to encourage me to leave the kids home and take some time to myself.
“How many times have I told you . . . ”
“I am not going to tell you again . . . ”
“You should know this by now. I have told you a THOUSAND times . . . ”
How I had needed to read those words. Because the world doesn’t get tired.
Patiently, quietly, confidently, it repeats its message with one purpose: long-term interaction with long-range goals and 100 percent saturation.
But what about me? I get tired of repeating myself. I think once should be enough for my children to understand that they should put others first, that they should love their brother or sister as they love themselves, that they should put. their. shoes. where. they. BELONG.
That they should love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and do all things for his glory.
But I really should know better than that. The Apostle Paul did. He knew that I needed to be reminded over and over of the truth of the gospel, of what honors the Lord.
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you” (Philippians 3:1, emphasis added).
“For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17, emphasis added).
Oh, that the Lord would give me grace for every moment and lasting endurance so I might remind my children of the ways which are in Christ!
Because if I don’t, there is an ever ready teacher waiting to direct them. One that will be happy to tell them again and again with great patience. And its message is much easier and more enticing, but it is a way that leads to death.
Have you had those moments? My prayer for us both is we would be diligent in the ministry the Lord has given us, to remind our children, just like Timothy, and that like Paul it would be no trouble to us.
Just like the rain that falls steadily until the ground is saturated, may we daily, hourly, by the minute water the implanted seed of God’s Word in the hearts of our children as we trust him to bring forth the growth. Day after day after day until the Lord returns, may we be found faithful. May we be found tirelessly reminding our children and ourselves of Christ and his ways.
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