Mark 1:9-11 (NIV)Do you ever get jealous of Jesus? After all, I can only hope the things I say and do are worthy of my heavenly father. Jesus has they sky opening for him, birds flying around and what I can only presume to be a booming, majestic voice making it perfectly clear in just how high a regard he is held. Of course, there’s a lot of other differences between myself and the Son of Man. But wouldn’t it be nice, just once, to get a “Hey kid, you’re doing all right” from above? I don’t even need the birds.
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
On a more serious note, this passage is a great reminder of an important lesson — think about what I’d like to be done on my behalf and then do so on behalf of others. For many years my parents have done a wonderful job in communicating their feelings for me as their child, as well as their support of me as a husband and a father. I have never been in a position to question their love or respect. I try not to take it for granted, but one of their strong suits is unrelenting consistency.
So out of respect for their efforts with me, and a sincere devotion to my own family, I must try to be as good or better with my own kids. At their young ages they don’t fully grasp the emotions at play, but that makes it no less important for me to tell them my feelings and then act accordingly so there’s no confusion. I might not do it so formally (“with you I am well pleased”), but I’ve found it doesn’t take much effort to go beyond the cursory “I love you” to offering a reason for what it is I especially enjoy about each son.
After all, there are so many reasons I enjoy each son. They have unique and wonderful qualities, and it’s important they know I really value them as individuals and not just because, well, I have to because they’re my kids. This is not the kind of lesson any parent should need to be taught, of course, but I still find it helpful to remind myself of the basic tenets. It is not enough to simply love, I also have to make sure my kids know how and why they are loved. Otherwise, how can I expect them to learn how to widen the circle as their worlds grow?
Much life gifts at Christmas time, it is as worthwhile to give love as it is to receive, if not more so. There’s so much selfishness in the world, it can be hard to remember what ought to be plain and obvious. I am thankful each day for the blessings of my kids and hope I am doing my best to raise them right. Fortunately, I never feel alone in facing the task.
A prayer for July 12:
Lord, please let your Spirit descend on me. Help me to form deep and lasting connections with the important people in my life and never let me forget the importance of communicating my honest feelings. You have given me tremendous gifts, in my own life and the chance to have a family, and it is my sincere hope to make the most of the opportunity. Show me the path to follow that I might reach my full potential in you. Amen.