Tuesday, September 22, 2009
TRAIN UP A CHILD...
2 Kings 11:21-12:16 (NRSV)
The boy king repairs the temple
Jehoash was seven years old when he began to reign.
In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash began to reign; he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba. Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all his days, because the priest Jehoiada instructed him. Nevertheless the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and make offerings on the high places.
Jehoash said to the priests, "All the money offered as sacred donations that is brought into the house of the Lord, the money for which each person is assessed - the money from the assessment of persons - and the money from the voluntary offerings brought into the house of the Lord, let the priests receive from each of the donors; and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered." But by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash the priests had made no repairs on the house. Therefore King Jehoash summoned the priest Jehoiada with the other priests and said to them, "Why are you not repairing the house? Now therefore do not accept any more money from your donors but hand it over for the repair of the house." So the priests agreed that they would neither accept more money from the people nor repair the house.
Then the priest Jehoiada took a chest, made a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar on the right side as one entered the house of the Lord; the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord. Whenever they saw that there was a great deal of money in the chest, the king's secretary and the high priest went up, counted the money that was found in the house of the Lord, and tied it up in bags. They would give the money that was weighed out into the hands of the workers who had the oversight of the house of the Lord; then they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders who worked on the house of the Lord, to the masons and the stonecutters, as well as to buy timber and quarried stone for making repairs on the house of the Lord, as well as for any outlay for repairs of the house. But for the house of the Lord no basins of silver, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, or any vessels of gold, or of silver, were made from the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, for that was given to the workers who were repairing the house of the Lord with it. They did not ask an accounting from those into whose hand they delivered the money to pay out to the workers, for they dealt honestly. The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the Lord; it belonged to the priests.
As the mother of an eight year old girl, today’s scripture reading really touches me at the core of my heart. I am reminded that my mommy-ministry really makes a difference in the Kingdom of God!
For all of us who have ever wondered if all of our love, care, discipline, and advice are making a difference in the lives of our children and their world, we have only to look at Jehoash.
I am particularly interested in the fact that Jehoash’s mother is named in the Bible! We all know that it is rare for the names of women to be recorded in scripture, yet Sister Zibiah is remembered with fondness as the Mommy of the great king, Jehoash, who did what was right in the sight of the Lord all of his days.
I wish I could have a conversation with Zibiah. I would love to ask her the secret to her success! Since this is not possible, I will glean what I can from today’s reading.
It is clear that Jehoash was taught very early to have love and reverence for God. He obviously cared very deeply for The Temple and for the ministry of his community of faith! He understood that financial resources were to be shared with God and he led his people to give generously to the ministries of the temple. Finally, I notice that Zibiah surrounded Jehoash with positive role models and mentors. Scripture records that Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord because the priest Jehoiada instructed him.
It is a well known saying in the African American tradition that “it takes a village to raise a child!” None of us is able to do it alone. It takes mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, pastors, priests, Sunday School instructors, teachers, and others to all sow good seed into a child in order for him or her to grow to the fullness of his or her potential.
As we all teach our children the importance of loving God, believing in Jesus, and serving the least of these, our children will live into a life of ministry as they learn to utilize their God-given gifts and talents for the glory of God! After all, the Bible says, "Train up a child in the way that s/he should go and when s/he is old, s/he won't depart from it!" (Proverbs 22:6)
Every night before I go to bed, I pray that my children will love God, neighbor, The Church, God’s people, the Bible, the songs of Zion, and the ministry of prayer. I pray that their sin will be forgiven and that they will be filled with the Holy Spirit so that they will be empowered and equipped to use their God-given gifts and talents--from an early age—to the glory of God! I pray for their God-ordained spouse to be gifted with the same things and that they will find their beloved early in their lives. Finally, I pray that they will be used by God to share the good news that Jesus saves on a daily basis!
It’s a simple prayer; but when we pray for—and with our children—reading and teaching them the Bible, surrounding them with positive role models and mentors, and equipping them to serve others, we can then believe--by faith--that God will do everything else that is necessary to raise them up to be great men and women of God!
I thank God for the ministry of Zibiah, Jehoiada, and the others, who raised up Jehoash and I pray for all of those people who are helping me and my husband to raise up our children as well!
Will you joyfully embrace your ministry of parenthood today? If so, please pray with me:
Holy God, thank you for the opportunity to be a parent. Please empower and equip me to sow good seed into my child/ren so that they will learn to love you, The Church, and your children all the days of their lives. Please forgive me of my sin and fill me with the Holy Spirit so that I can be a good witness and example all the days of my life. I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, "Come to Jesus."