RELATED VERSE: THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
A Letter to Read/Use As A Guide With Your Children
Do you remember the Aesop’s fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare”? Well, it’s a wonderful little story packed with meaning. Listen as I retell it to you in my own words:
There once was a sleek rabbit who happened to think pretty highly of himself. He could run as fast as the wind, and he made sure everybody around him knew it.
One day he came across his turtle “friend” who was slowly making his way toward a nearby pond for a morning swim. “Ha! Ha!” the rabbit mockingly laughed. “Look how very slow you are moving! Can’t you go any faster than that at all?”
The turtle looked him in the eyes with certainty (knowing of the rabbit’s character), and said, “I challenge you to a race, and we will see who wins.” The rabbit was quite amused at the thought of racing a turtle, of all things, so he willingly agreed to the turtle’s challenge.
They decided how far they would run; and then, asked the friendly fox to be the judge. With a “ready, set, go,” they were off! Of course, the rabbit sped way out in front, very far ahead of the slow-moving turtle. He darted here, and darted there, and ran in circles, just to show off his magnificent speed and agility. However, after a fast and furious beginning, the prideful rabbit was now a wee bit winded. So, he decided to slow down. “After all,” he reasoned to himself, “I am very far ahead of the plodding turtle, and a little playtime among these pretty flowers will do me no harm.” But, then, … “Ahh,” he eyed a beautiful shade tree! He thought, “What a perfect spot to take a small nap on this unusually hot day. I have time to rest…just a little bit.” And so, he lay down … and fell … fast … asleep.
Meanwhile, the turtle kept his mind focused on winning, his eyes set on the course in front of him, and his will steadfast toward the goal. He came moving along, slowly yet persistently, passing the rabbit as he slept. Not only did he pass him, but he was so far ahead of the now wide-awake and frenzied rabbit, that the turtle managed to cross the finish line first! Of course, the swift, yet lazy rabbit was utterly humbled and dismayed.
Sweet ones, do you see the point of this fable? The rabbit, loaded with his gift of speed, did not use it properly. On the other hand, the turtle, whose speed was actually one of his greatest weaknesses, never slacked off, stayed focused, and ended up beating the rabbit across the finish line! The rabbit got lazy, while the turtle got busy.
Children, I’m asking you to be careful of the sneaky “tool”’ that Satan uses in many Christians today. It’s called complacency. His desire is to sidetrack you. He will try to entice you to take a “short, little” nap underneath a perfect shady tree. Certain areas in which he has mastered this in my generation (and yours) are the television, the computer, and even your favorite hobbies. Remember what I have always said: “Too much of a good thing is not good.” So these things, in and of themselves, are fine. It’s just abuse of, and the excessive use of, these things that pull you away from the desired “race of life” God is asking you to run.
Also, please understand that there is a big difference between resting and being lazy. God rested on the seventh day, after six days of creation. And Jesus took time out to rest, after providing for the needs of others. Follow these examples, rest after work. Rest in the Lord so you can regain the physical, mental, and spiritual strength that you need to continue the work He has called you to do –nothing more, nothing less. The shade under His tree promises the refreshing peace and joy of His Spirit. There, you will be revived and renewed once more.
Use your time wisely, make the most of your opportunities, stay fervent in spirit, running your race in such a way that you may win the prize. Then, rest in Him. Memorize the verse: “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Eph. 5:14)
Children, I challenge you to be determined not to miss the “Son shining” on you during your spiritual walks with Him. Make time for Him. He is waiting for you..
He will help you stay the course, and like the turtle, you will be rewarded greatly!
Teaching Tools/Activities For Your Children
(Discuss the “Turtle and the Hare” fable.)
- Talk about the things which God in heaven may be asking your children to do (for example: obeying parents, making your bed, cleaning your room, stop procrastinating, etc.). Affirm your child for doing these jobs from start to finish.
- Talk about some of the things that “sidetrack” your children (too much, TV, computer, etc.).
- Follow Christ’s example: rest after work. (Remember, resting in Him, is the greatest rest you could ask for.)
A Prayer To Pray Over Your Children
Dear Lord God,
Thank You for being our King! And because of the grace given in Jesus, we have become Your appointed ambassadors! I pray each of my children will take this honorary position seriously. Please give them a heart that beats steadfastly for You. Make them very aware of Satan’s tool of passivity which keeps many Christians from being effective for Jesus Christ. Guard them from being lazy, complacent, or satisfied with the “status quo” and mere comforts in life. May they understand that having a sluggard disposition— physically, mentally, or spiritually—will end in poverty only. Empower them by Your Spirit to deliberately turn from this sin. Then, may they use their minds, their bodies, and their hearts in a determined, persistent, and even urgent manner, so that You may be glorified through them. Give them the desire to walk as children of light, pursuing Your goodness, righteousness, and truth. Help them to know You have the ability to shine in all that they do, even when the task at hand seems frivolous or unimportant.
Finally dear Lord, I pray, my children will veer away from procrastination (a close companion of complacency). Help them, by Your Spirit, not to put off the specific good works that You have prepared for each of them to do. I pray this prayer with a convicted sinner’s heart, dear Lord. So often I have put off ‘til tomorrow what I should have done today. Forgive me and help me, so that my children will see a diligent worker before their eyes. However, when I pray this prayer, I specifically ask that the “good works” we do, be a result of our love for You, not simply an effort to merit favor in Your eyes. Help my children realize they can add nothing to what You have already given them by grace. So out of love for their Savior, may they seek an active lifestyle, giving Your free love away to others.
May they, and I, respond to the gentle “nudging” of your Holy Spirit; and with a steadfast heart, press ever forward for the cause of Christ—for this is why we live.
Scripture references in letter:
Pr. 6:9-11; Pr. 4:25-27, II Cor. 12:9-10; Is. 32:9; Matt. 11:28; Eph. 5:15-17; Rom. 12:10-13; I Cor. 9:24; Pr. 12:27
Scripture references in prayer:
II Cor. 5:20, Ps. 108:1-3; Pr. 13:4; Eph. 2:8-10; I Cor. 15:57-58; Gal. 6:9-10; James 1:22-27