Parents Waiting for God(ot)

Parents Waiting for God(to) - Parenting Like Hannah

Photo by Leticia Bertin

In college, I was supposed to write a review of the play Waiting for Godot. I am sure it was wonderful, but frankly at that age my only take away was that Godot was a metaphor for God. I was also pretty sure the waiting (and the play) would last forever. With my apologies to Samuel Beckett for panning his play, I think we may just be spending too much of our time in our own production of Waiting for God.

At some point in their lives, most people develop a sense of missed importance. Most of us in our heart of hearts know that given a chance we could win American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and/or be discovered at the Mall by a casting agent. We know we were meant for something more exciting, more important than the normal mundane lives we are living. We are even training our children that way. “You can be anything you want to be,” is spoken over and over again to children all over this country. So we all sit and wait for someone to discover the greatness within us and introduce us to the life we know we were meant to live.

As Christians, many of us have moved away from pushing our children towards worldly greatness. Instead, we are teaching our children they were given special gifts by God to build up His Kingdom. I firmly believe in that concept, except there is one small potential problem. What if we and our children are so busy waiting for God to reveal what His special gifts for us are, we do nothing for years? What if we spend our entire lives waiting for God to reveal to us His plan for our greatness? See the problem with that, is it has never been about us or our greatness. It is always supposed to be about God and His greatness.

Yes, I do believe God has given each of us special gifts we can use to accomplish certain tasks needed in God’s Kingdom. For some people, those gifts may even give them a sort of fame for a time (which may or may not be from God and can be very dangerous for the person). Most of us though will find our special gifts have us doing tasks that give God glory and not us (which is the idea anyway!).

What if we also taught our children that one of the special gifts God gives all of us is the ability to do small every day things to accomplish His purposes? What if they were trained to look for the small every day, seemingly mundane things they could do for God?

Those questions remind me of the story of the Good Samaritan. The people who didn’t stop thought of themselves as godly people. They thought they were walking towards an important godly event and/or function. There is a good chance they didn’t stop because helping the Samaritan would have made them unable to participate in the “religious” thing they were going to do. Yet Jesus said they missed a very important opportunity to serve God by walking past what seemed like an every day problem – some poor, Samaritan who had been robbed. A little scary perhaps that the neighborhood they were walking through was getting so bad and I’m sure they figured “somebody else” would take care of it while they hurried off to their “important” event. Overall though, it was just a routine event in their world that wasn’t worth them stopping for and ruining their own day.

How many times do we walk by an opportunity to serve God? Do we even notice them any more? Have we trained our children to notice them? Would we stop to help someone pick up groceries they had dropped as we are hurrying somewhere? Would our children stop to help someone who had fallen, even if it meant they were late for class? Do we and our children stand up for people as they are being gossiped about or teased? Do we show God’s love to the annoying or “different” people in our world whom others mock or shun? Are we willing to do the little boring, unseen tasks of the Kingdom?

Look around you and your children this week. Find some ordinary, seemingly mundane tasks your family can do in God’s Kingdom. Fill a communion tray, send a card, make a telephone call, pick up something someone has dropped, show God’s love to others in ordinary ways. You might discover you are a little bit closer to God’s greatness than you thought.

What are some every day things you or your children do to show people God’s love? Have you discovered the “mundane” tasks are bringing you closer to God? Have you had to make changes in your own attitude or priorities to make room for using your gift of the “every day tasks for God”? I would love for you to share your experiences with others in a comment below.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 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 NIV)