Uselessness. Instinctively, we know it is a liability. Every thing has a purpose to fulfill; otherwise it is unneeded (Isaiah 30:5). If a refrigerator stops cooling, we get rid of it. If a car cannot be made to run, it ends up as scrap metal. We get that.
Actually, our Father is the one who has revealed this principle in greater wisdom to us. The account of the barren fig tree in Luke 13:6-9 points out that not only is an unfruitful tree useless to its owner, it is also cumbering the ground, taking up space and nutrients that might otherwise be devoted to a profitable tree. It makes perfect sense, then, that every stubbornly unproductive “tree” (servant of the Lord) is doomed to be removed and burned (John 15:2, Matthew 3:10, Hebrews 6:7-8, Matthew 25:30). After all, that is one of God’s stated reasons for creating us, that we should walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10).
As loving mothers, we want our children to thrive, to grow to become productive and capable adults; however, this doesn’t just magically occur at age 18 or 21. Something has to happen during their childhood that brings them to the point of being responsible grownups. We have to “aim” arrows before we let them go, right? (Psalms 127:4, Proverbs 22:6). To this end, we try to get our children to do chores, and gradually take on more responsibilities with age and ability. Yet often our children are not enthusiastic or willing workers; my own children often surprise me with their brilliantly creative excuses. Many children simply have to be forced to do any chores they do, and approach it with such an unpleasant attitude that parents shy away from the conflict whenever possible by asking less and less of them.
As children mature into teens they are technically able to do many of the tasks of an adult; yet many remain stuck in juvenile roles in the home, or even rebelliously regress to the point they are doing very little for others. Our society laughingly accepts and almost condones this as “normal teenage” behavior. But these attitudes may linger for years, damaging the lives and potential of our young people well into their adult years. The Millennial Generation is known for being lazy, dependent, self-indulgent, and generally difficult for employers to manage. That is surely not what we hope for our own children.
How can we, as Christian mothers, nurture good attitudes and work ethic in our children that will cause them to be willing workers and diligent servants of the Lord? What are my own attitudes toward work? Am I faithful and diligent even in tasks I don’t care for? Do I find joy in the small jobs and do them heartily as unto the Lord? How are my children doing as workers so far? Could they (and even I) use some improvement in some areas? Mercifully, God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, revealed through the knowledge of the One who has called us (2 Peter 1:3). Let’s get digging in the scriptures to find the answers we need, both for this life and the life to come!
(Lord willing, more to come….)