Monday, June 13, 2011

Growing our Children: Inspiring them to God's Purpose

What is your purpose? Do you know why God put you here, in this time and place? If you are a Christian, then your purpose is to glorify God and to lead others to Him. That is our spiritual purpose as children of God.

Our earthly purpose, though, should not be markedly different from our spiritual purpose. Even if I feel called to be a teacher because God has given me specific skills that enable me to be successful in that job, He also expects me to utilize those same talents in a spiritual sense, by leading others to Him through my teaching.

What about our children and their purpose?

As moms, we greatly influence the paths our children will one day take without us. Granted God has given our children unique personalities and special talents that have little to do with us, yet by giving them the gift of inspiration, we show our children that they play an important role in God's plan. Through the gifts God has endowed them, they can bring glory to God and lead others to Him.

What a responsibility we have as mothers! And to think that most days I'm consumed with potty training and endless piles of laundry!

How can we as moms can help our children identify and pursue their purpose?

Through service. By exposing our children to different ways to serve God, we open up to them diverse opportunities to identify their gifts so that they will use those talents for God's greater purposes. For example, if you regularly take your children with you when you visit a nursing home or someone in the hospital, then that experience may draw your children to serve or even pursue a profession in the medical field or in caregiving when they get older.

My mother inspired me as a child with her heart for serving others by fixing meals for those in need. God blessed her with amazing culinary skills, which she uses on a regular basis to glorify God and lead others to Him. Now I am not half the cook my mom is, but because of her example, I have discovered my own joy in preparing food for others as service to them.

By offering an eternal perspective. In The Ministry of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson suggests that we remind our children "of their eternal significance, [by] using...simple phrases such as 'I wonder how God will use you in this world?'" (67-8). Wow!

Instead of asking your child, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" ask, "How do you think God will use you in this world?"

When we talk to our children about their future in terms of God's plan for them, we help them to see that God has a greater purpose for them than simply finding and pursuing an earthly job. And when our children identify their gifts and begin to pursue their futures, we can assist them in finding ways to use those gifts to disciple and minister to others.

In providing them with an eternal rather than purely secular perspective, we also teach our children dependence on God. As Proverbs 16:3 states,
"Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed."
As Chip Ingram states in his book Five Lies that Ruin Relationships, a business plan that excludes God will never be successful. So also if our children (and we) do not include God in our pursuit of purpose, then we will fail. We want our children to succeed; we want to succeed. But in order to accomplish great things, we must put God in the forefront of our decisions.

Sally Clarkson concludes her chapter on inspiration by reminding us that as moms, we are merely instruments in helping our children become what God has purposed them to be, that it's His world, and that worldly pursuits should not be our children's highest aim:
These precious children were designed to fulfill a purpose for God by bringing His glory to bear through their lives. They were designed to be His hands, His voice, His heart, and mind through the various kinds of work they undertake in His world. (67)
As mothers we need to help our children identify their strengths, talents, and gifts and provide rich opportunities to try out their skills in various areas of service to find their place in God's plan. We must present a God-centered, rather than a secular, perspective to show our children that they are eternally significant and an integral part of His plan. And we must encourage and pray for them as they boldly step forward in faith into areas where the world will not go.

How are you giving your children the gift of inspiration? In what specific ways do you help them identify and pursue their purpose?

This post is linked to Women in the Word Wednesdays.


  1. I really enjoyed this encouragement! It is so true that have to incorporate these lessons with our children on purpose. I love your ideas on service and focusing on God's purpose instead of "what we want to be".

  2. Great post. Eternity's values are what matter!

  3. Thanks, Allison. I have to constantly remind myself that God has a plan for our children and no matter what my desire for them might be His purpose for them is much greater.

  4. Sarah, I agree completely! Sometimes it's tough for me to remember that it's the eternal that matters and not the temporal and worldly when the latter is constantly glaring at me. But you are right!