Quality Time

A few years ago there was a statistic which claimed that the average American dad spent five minutes a day with his children. If that’s true, I sure hope those are five really good minutes!

I’m sure we can debate the validity of the statistic, but it does raise a question: How much time are you spending with your children and grandchildren? Perhaps the better question is: How are you spending that time? We certainly do lots of good things with the children in our life. We cheer for them as they run the bases in a little league game. We take them to the lake, to the movies and to the county fair. We read to them, laugh with them and wrap them up in great big hugs. Those are the good times.

What about the other times? Much of the time we spend with them is filled with impatience and frustration. We use harsh words and unloving actions. We fail to discipline and instruct with love and patience and compassion. Sometimes we are too busy for them. Sometimes we are too preoccupied to answer their many questions.

If we are honest with ourselves, too often even our “quality” time with our children is missing something. God reminds us of what we too often leave out of our time with the children who are important to us: “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds…Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19). Do the children in your life get to hear from you about the love their Savior has for them? Do they get to hear on a regular basis about the God who has created them and saved them and given them so many wonderful promises? If we don’t take the time to teach them, who will?

Thankfully we have a Father who gave us more than five minutes. Actually, our heavenly Father gave us much more than that: he gave us an eternity in heaven through faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. We will be with our Father in heaven forever. That same Father is with us every minute of every day in his Word. Get together with the children in your life and spend some quality time with God’s Word.

I need a break!

Once the kids are born the time demands never seem to end. It starts with the 3 am feeding. Next we have teething and earaches. We run the daily rat race from home to daycare to work to daycare to home to bed. And that’s a slow day without tee-ball, soccer or dance class! My life revolves around my children. I don’t have any time to myself.

Do you feel this way? Have your family concerns and obligations sapped your strength? Take heart, you are not alone!

One of the toughest lessons for me to learn as a parent was that taking quiet time for myself does not mean that I don’t love my children. As a matter of fact, taking time to be alone can be one of the best things I can do for my family. I learned this truth from Jesus.

Many times in the Bible, like in Matthew 14:13, we see that Jesus took time for himself. This verse says “Jesus withdrew privately to a solitary place.” Jesus is the perfect Son of God who gave his life on the cross for mine, yet he took time on this earth be alone and pray to his Father in heaven. We don’t need to feel guilty when we do the same.

I understand now that I need to take time alone. I am a parent, yet I am God’s child. I need time to be held by him. I need time to hear how much he loves me. I need time to talk to him. I need time to listen to him. Spending time alone with my Father in heaven gives me strength. He is my perfect parent and a model for me to follow. Spend time alone with him you will find the same.

What Is God’s Role for a Husband?

Before we can answer that specific question, we have to take a step back and remind ourselves what responsibilities God has given to all his children, not just to husbands.  In the fifth chapter of the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul reminds all of God’s people to mimic their heavenly Father by living lives of love.  This love, he goes on to explain will often show itself in the way each Christian will put the needs of others ahead of his or her own.  This submission to others is a mutual submission and always an expression of love.

While every Christian will seek to love others as Christ has loved him, and while every Christian will submit to the needs of others as an expression of that love, a Christian husband is called to do this in a very specific way in his marriage.  Jesus wants the Christian husband to mimic him (i.e. Jesus) in the way he treats his wife.

So, Jesus says, a Christian husband is to demonstrate his love for his wife by loving her in the way and to the degree that Christ has loved his church, the gathering of every believer.  To know the height and depth and extent of Jesus’ love for you, is to know how Christ wants a Christian husband to love his wife.

Consider such words of Christ.  “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).  “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14).  “The good shepherd lays his life down for the sheep” (John 10:11).

That is the kind of love a husband is to show his wife.  That is the way a husband is to speak to his wife.  That is how well a husband is to know the needs of his wife and family.  That is the kind of attitude a husband is to adopt as he provides godly leadership for his family.  That is the extent to which a husband will go to demonstrate his love.  The Christian husband is not a self-serving tyrant.  The Christian husband is the self-sacrificing, servant leader Christ has called him and made him to be.

When the Christian husband loves his wife as Christ loves the church what a beautiful picture he paints for his wife and his children of Christ’s love for them!  That is the greatest role a husband can fill.