Tuesday, August 12, 2008

John Piper

The excerpt below is from a sermon by John Piper entitled, "Marriage is meant for making children...disciples of Jesus." The audio and text can be found here. I have yet to listen to it, but was reading it today. It really speaks to my heart. I have felt

The most fundamental task of a mother and father is to show God to the children.
Children know their parents before they know God. This is a huge responsibility and should cause every parent to be desperate for God-like transformation. The children will have years of exposure to what the universe is like before they know there is a universe. They will experience the kind of authority there is in the universe and the kind of justice there is in the universe and the kind of love there is in the universe before they meet the God of authority and justice and love who created and rules the universe. Children are absorbing from dad his strength and leadership and protection and justice and love; and they are absorbing from mother her care and nurture and warmth and intimacy and justice and love—and, of course, all these overlap.

And all this is happening before the child knows anything about God, but it is profoundly all about God. Will the child be able to recognize God for who he really is in his authority and love and justice because mom and dad have together shown the child what God is like. The chief task of parenting is to know God for who he is in many attributes and then to live in such a way with our children that we help them see and know God. And, of course, that will involve directing them always to the infallible portrait of God in the Bible.

Finally, God has ordained that both mother and father be involved in raising the children because they are husband and wife before they are mother and father. And what they are as husband and wife is where God wants children to be: As husband and wife, they are a drama of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and the church. That is where God wants children to be. His design is that children grow up watching Christ love the church and watching the church delight in following Christ. His design is that the beauty and strength and wisdom of this covenant relationship be absorbed by the children from the time they are born.