Yesterday was Mother’s Day. It is a complicated day for many women, for many reasons. And yesterday, our church had a guest pastor. He is a retired Methodist pastor who, with his wife, has chosen Grace as their church home. We are grateful for them both. Dave (that is his name) chose to preach in character as John Wesley about John’s mother Susanna. If you don’t know much about Susanna Wesley, I encourage you to learn more about her. She is an inspiring woman who was ahead of her time. She was born in 1669. She gave birth to 19 children with only 9 surviving to adulthood. 9 died in infancy and one died due to an accident in childhood. Susanna herself was the last of 25 children her parents had. Large families were common, and many children did not survive their first year of life.
But I digress as I want to talk about talents. And I mean talents in the sense that Jesus talked about them in his parable of the talents (which you can find in Matthew 25:14-30). These talents were resources that a master gave to his servants and the parable teaches about how they handled them and the consequences, good and bad, they each received. In his sermon, I found it interesting that Pastor Dave said Susanna considered her children to be talents and her job was to invest in them so when they were adults they would do well in society and in life. Her biggest goal was to give them a good spiritual foundation that would stay with them throughout their lives. She home schooled all her children as she got them ready for college or whatever life had in store for them. She herself was fluent in English, Greek and Latin…again a woman, lightyears ahead of her time. But back to talents…
I have to say, I am captivated with the idea of our children being the talents God gives not just to their parents who give them life but to the world. We are all responsible for raising the children in our communities. It is the “it takes a village idea” of child rearing. But it is also true.
When I had my own children, I quickly recognized that I didn’t know everything I needed to know in order to give my children what they needed. My oldest son wanted to learn to play the guitar…I have no clue how to play a guitar…so I found a guitar teacher for him. My daughter is a very good athlete…I am not. I have two left feet and my eyesight is…well it isn’t great. Seeing a softball or any other ball coming at me is challenging. So, for my daughter we enrolled her into organized sports so she could hone her athletic skills. My younger sons were into band and one even like math…I am pretty sure 2 plus 2 equals 4 but…I could be wrong. Math and I have never gotten along all that well. Which is why I had a tutor to get me through my college math classes. Thank you, Bud Reynolds!!! All that to say, each person has gifts to offer to others. Gifts they can use to help other people learn and grow in their own talents and we all are responsible to help. Especially our children. We are, whether we like it or not, teachers. We are, whether we like it or not, examples for our children, (not just the ones in our own families), to follow.
So, the question becomes: How are you going to pour your resources into the “talents” God has given our church or even your family? What are you doing to help children, wherever you meet them grow into good, caring, responsible adults who know what their own gifts are?
Our children need us to be kind, caring, boundary setting, Jesus filled examples. We need to not worry so much about spills but teach them not only that accidents happen but how to clean up when one happens. We need to not worry so much about noise…children are loud…we should rejoice in the joyful sounds that fill our homes and our churches because it means the next generation is learning about Jesus. We need not worry about things getting broken because it means they are being used and it is a reminder that our homes and our churches are not museums. We DO need to worry about how we are ALL called to multiply our talents. The only way I know how to do that is to pour my energies and resources into raising the next generation in the best way I know how. By doing everything I do filled with God’s amazing agape love.
I hope you will join me in teaching, loving, supporting the “talents” (children) that fill our world? Pouring our resources into our most precious resource. I promise you the rewards will be amazing!