I attended the funeral of a close friend’s father yesterday. His name was Ron. Although I only spent a small amount of time around Ron, he was one of those men that a small amount of time was all you needed to know for certain that he was, in fact, a great man. By “great” I don’t mean famous, or rich, or a business tycoon. He wasn’t surrounded by models, or fancy cars, or cameras. He wasn’t loud or boisterous and didn’t live in a mansion. His greatness wasn’t the world’s greatness. And yet, as I squirmed in my uncomfortable folding chair in the back of the near standing-room-only service, the largest attended funeral in recent memory according to the preacher, I was overcome by desire to be a great man like Ron.
[W]hoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Parenting is one of the most treasured spiritual gifts God has given to me. And by “spiritual gifts” I do not mean the gift of parenting well. What I mean is that I learn so much about Christ by loving, serving and disciplining my children. We tend to have blind spots while navigating our own spiritual walks, but children have a way of shoving the Gospel right into our faces. What do I mean by that? Well, the parent and child relationship reflects the relationship between God and believers. We get a glimpse into the grace and love of God as our children disobey us, break commands, or show disrespect. The anger, frustration and hurt we feel as parents are only shadows of what God must feel when we do the same to Him but are enough to make us fall to our knees before God and thank Him for His service, sacrifice, love, grace and mercy. They are enough to lead us to Paul’s moment, where he exclaimed: “What a wretched man I am!” Romans 7:24.