I believe we need to answer the above two questions (Click Here to read Part 1) by first focusing our hearts on God. Deuteronomy 6:4-6 are very clear that we must not just consider that God is important. “God is great, God is good, now we thank him for our food” (our normal, daily acknowledgement of God) is not an end, it is a beginning! The verses clearly say that we are to “love the Lord our God with all [our] heart, and with all [our] soul, and with all [our] might.”
I would love a big HD TV (bigger is better!). I would also love a Convertible Vette (’72, black). My idol of choice is comfort. As Paul Tripp outlines in his book Age of Opportunity, it could just as well be control, success, respect, or appreciation. My point is that there are many choices that we make each day that move our hearts away from worshiping God and toward worshiping the creation (and ultimately self, see Romans 1:25). It isn’t that it is a sin to get, have, and enjoy, but is that our focus? If that is our focus then ultimately what we pass on to our children is a focus on self. What are you passing on?
Do we really love the Lord with all our might. Is my whole heart totally given to Him? If it is, my schedule often teaches differently. How about yours? As Luke 6:45 states that our behavior is a revealer of our hearts, what does our schedule reveal about where our hearts are focused? What should a person that is loving the Lord with all really look like? Back in Deuteronomy we see an answer. Chapter 6 verse 20 reveals that our lives should provoke our children to ask why we live so differently from everybody else, and what do all these things God has commanded really mean? A life that is “caught up” with God, isn’t “caught up” with houses, cars, electronics, vacations, retirement, clothes, and restaurants (Mt. 6:24. Deuteronomy 6:10-12 gives an eerily accurate warning to avoid this. Verse six of the same chapter says that we are to take the words that God has communicated to us about life (His commands, statutes, testimonies) and make them a part of our hearts (inner man—the real us!).
Secondly, we must free up the resources to enable us to communicate that focus to our spouse and children. I believe that in our society it takes money to live (in fact, more and more of it!). If I said otherwise I would lose all credibility as a (somewhat) sane person. Chapter 6, verses 11-14 warn that when we have houses full of stuff, and life is easy, beware of leaving your commitment to God and serving and worshipping what the others around you are serving and worshipping. Are these verses applicable in our culture? Are they applicable to you and me? Yea. We need a shift in thinking from, “how much can I get to live on,” to “how much do I need to live on.” We all have different incomes and expenses. Some expenses are, to a large degree fixed, some are discretionary. We have all heard the saying, “you either have time or money.” I fear that we have lost track of the fact that the pursuit of money takes time. Time is something we think a lot about, but perhaps we don’t think about just how valuable it is. When we are given the responsibility to diligently teach our children about our love for God and His instructions for life, verse 7 expresses the value of time. In verse 7 of Deuteronomy 6 God commands us to take the time all through the day to have proximity and purpose in our interaction with our children. A good summary of the teaching in these verses would be, “all throughout your day, diligently teach your children about the God that resides in your heart.” That takes time, making time immensely valuable. A new car, a bigger house, nice clothes, and eating out are fun luxuries, but because of the time investment required to get, have, and enjoy, their cost can be exponentially more than their value! Some of those things can hinder and even take away our ability to influence our children (and spouse) toward God.
If you need a new method of time management, books abound, read away. My hope here is that you will look closely at the two key thoughts. As you head toward the end of the year take time to reflect on the focus of your heart. What needs to change about your focus? After you evaluate, and adjust your heart’s focus, assess your time resources. With the correct focus you will find the time resources you are looking for. Make those adjustments that need to be made so you can free up your resources to have the time to reach your children’s hearts. A summary of the truths found in Deuteronomy 6: 20-25 reveals the fruit of living God’s commands for life:
So that, when your child asks you in time to come, saying, what is all this Bible and God stuff, you will hear their question, wrap your arms around them and tell them all that God has done for you and how much you love Him.