I have lived much of my life in close proximity to the Mississippi River. I enjoy standing on its banks and watching the water. This might seem strange, but I’m always fascinated by the debris that drifts past. It consists mostly of tree limbs of various sizes, but barge hands and lock-and-dam workers can tell stories of all sorts of interesting stuff they’ve seen floating downstream.
All this debris has one thing in common: it isn’t headed anywhere in particular. It is likely to get snagged on a sandbar or trapped against the wall of one of the locks that dissect the Upper Mississippi, where it will remain stuck until the whims of nature knock it loose.
If we aren’t careful, our lives can take on the characteristic of driftwood, bouncing from one thing to the next with no destination in mind. As a husband and father, I have found this to be true of family life as well. It is easy to drift on the tides of daily existence, paying bills, racing between events, and trying to keep up with chores, without giving much thought about where our family is headed.We must intentionally lead our families in the path of righteousness, which often involves swimming against the current of contemporary culture. Click To Tweet
A Better Way: Being Intentional
Scriptures command us to approach family life intentionally, with a sense of purpose. You probably are familiar with Proverbs 22:6, which instructs parents to “train up a child in the way he should go.” Paul told fathers to “bring (children) up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, NIV). We must intentionally lead our families in the path of righteousness, which often involves swimming against the current of contemporary culture.
Psalm 127:4 compares children to “arrows in the hands of a warrior” (NIV). An arrow flies in the direction it is aimed. Outside factors such as wind, air density, and obstacles can affect its flight path, but the most influential element is the accuracy of the archer. The archer’s efforts greatly enhance the likelihood of a bullseye. Similarly, you and I cannot always control the outside influences that affect our families, but we can do our best to intentionally point the ones we love in the right direction.
Aim with Purpose
You are not drawing your bow “at a venture,” to borrow a line from I Kings 22:34. You are aiming with purpose, and the Family Ministries Council wants to help you improve your accuracy. None of us get it right every time, but God’s grace will help us overcome our limitations. He can even redeem our mistakes. Together, we will intentionally lead our families toward the fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose.
None of us get it right every time, but God’s grace will help us overcome our limitations. He can even redeem our mistakes.
Jonathan Mohr serves as the director of communications for the United Pentecostal Church International. He is an ordained minister and a member of the Family Ministries Council.