Children are a gift, a joy, a blessing, a challenge, and a responsibility all rolled into one. In a word, they are a stewardship. What makes them unique as a stewardship is that they have their own minds, their own personalities, and their own opinions. Money will not generally talk back to you. Time will not question your decisions. The talents you have will not point out consistency issues in your words and your habits. One man observed that children are the truest test of your spiritual life. You might be able to hide who you really are from your neighbors, from your coworkers, and yes, even from the church, however, you cannot hide your true character from those little eyes that see you at home. What an awesome responsibility of a parent as a steward to shepherd and lead these young souls. What responsibilities has God placed upon the parents as stewards?
God holds steward-parents responsible for setting spiritual boundaries for their children.
One of the very first things a child learns at home is where the boundaries are. If there is no boundary and correction, there is no love (Pro. 29:15; Eph. 6:4; Heb. 12:5-9). There may be incidental boundaries such as curfews, chores, or other responsibilities, however, in setting spiritual boundaries regarding morality and choices, God wants His word to be the foundation. In fact, read through Deuteronomy 6 and see how many times God “commands” steward- parents in the form of verbs that honor Him and His word (for example: observe (6:1); fear (6:2); hear (6:3, 4); love (6:5); teach, talk (6:7)). God desires that children learn a healthy respect for Him and for His word as the boundary from the stewards of the home.
God holds steward-parents responsible for setting spiritual direction for their children.
One man said, “children are ours for a while that they can be His forever.” A wise steward/parent is one who inscribes that saying upon their heart. Solomon wrote many proverbs aimed at his son wanting him to be full of wisdom and integrity when dealing with people and cultivating God-honoring (and parent-honoring) decisions in his life (see Pro. 1:7-10; 2:1-5; 3:1-6). Many parents want great things for their children, however, parents must emphasize godly direction and behavior. “Son, I will support you even if you want to be a ditch digger when you grow up, as long as you’re a ditch digger that pleases the Lord.”
God holds steward-parents responsible for encouraging spiritual growth for their children.
There comes a time when a child chooses what he or she will do with their parent’s faith. For example, see the life of Jacob and how the knowledge of God grew from a tool in the hands of a deceitful child (Gen. 28:20), to a vow of service (Gen. 28:20-22), to a recognition that He was the God of his father (Gen. 31:5, 29), to a fear of the God of his father (Gen. 31:53), to “wrestling” with the God of his father (Gen. 32:24-32), to becoming Jacob’s/Israel’s own God (Gen. 33:20). Children must grow in their faith in God and learn to put their own trust in Him, however, steward-parents cannot sit idly by and hope that their children will be what God wants them to be. It begins with growing ourselves, and teaching our children that our family values growing like Christ more than anything else (2 Pet. 3:18)!
God holds steward-parents responsible for giving spiritual counsel for their children.
While at home, children are obligated to honor their parents by their obedience (Eph. 6:1-3). Parent-stewards need to cultivate an open relationship where they can offer godly counsel to their children and help them work through their problems in God-honoring ways (1 Cor. 10:31).
However, in God’s plan, there comes a time when the children leave father or mother and cleave to their spouse (Gen. 2:24). When that happens, the children are still to honor their father and mother, but there is a difference now. The children are not under their authority anymore because they have established their own home. It should be that when a child comes with difficulty at work, with children, with spouse, or with friend, that the steward-parents, as counselors, not as administrators, are always ready to listen, but ultimately to point them to Jesus and to His example and teaching.
What an awesome responsibility to be a parent! Above all, constant prayer, deep reflection, and the light of God’s word will illuminate the task of being a steward- parent. A steadfast trust in God will yield what every parent ought to hope for in the lives of their children: “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12:11).