Written By Ken Alexander
If you are like most of us, your life’s schedule is very full and overflowing. There is always something tugging at you that needs to be done, and many of us feel a twinge of guilt when we just sit and relax, read a book, or veg in front of the TV. Yet, we seem to know how important taking time for ourselves is, so “What gets left undone?”
A wise, old law professor started his class with an illustration by placing rocks into an aquarium until they reached the top and asked the class, “Is it full?” There was a resounding “No!” from the class. He reached over and poured gravel into the bowl to the top and ask, “Full?” More quietly the class responded “No.” He poured sand into the bowl until it reached the brim and asked, “Is it full?” Tepidly the students responded, “No?”
There was silence to which he then asked the class: “So what is the message of this illustration?” One student stood and said, “Sir, the message is that no matter how busy we are there is always room to add more to our work and our lives.”
“No,” said the professor warmly, “the message is that you only have one life, and if you do not get the big rocks of your most important priorities into your bowl of life first, you will never get them in. What is left undone, stays undone. Make time first for the most important things of life, family, faith, and friends. Life is all about choices, so choose wisely.”
Few readers miss the idea that TTW is a champion for Christian stay-at-home moms. Not only does she believe it is best for the children to have a full time mom at home, but best for mom and dad too. It certainly was the norm some 50 years ago, but now society, life’s needs, and the apple of success and “more things” has turned the old paths upside down for many families. We know that the pull of mom to work is very strong, and all we can do is to challenge couples to choose what they are putting first and as the priorities into their bowl of life that is quickly passing by.
Can a Mom work and still be a great wife and mom? You bet! Having worked with thousands of working moms, I have am constantly amazing at how much they can juggle and do in a day because they feel they have to. Single working moms are particular champions in my mind doing what is seemingly impossible, and thank God, many of them have their parents or siblings to help out where the huge hole is left when a dad is missing from home. But no matter how a working mom structures her day, it is impossible to not have things left undone no matter how heroic she may be. This is true of all moms but particularly true of Christian moms.
If you are a mother who is not a Christian and enjoys the flow of society and where it is taking you and your children, then putting them in public school and babysitting them with hours of social media and television is simply a part of helping your children to be indoctrinated by the things of this world. Imagine the flow of culture like a gentle river that you can just put your kids “in a tube” and let them float and they will learn all they need to learn about this world; open sexual relations, choices for what sex they want to be, following after the rich and famous, all easy things to teach to children if we just let culture do it for us.
But if you are a Christian and understand that you are not part of this world, but another, then you will be battling to swim with your children upstream against its evils and perversions and training them in the ways of the Lord.
For the Christian parents, there is much “extra” to do each day in teaching our children the ways of the Lord. Much of our time is spent protecting them from the world, and time spent teaching them Bible stories, classic Christian songs, family dinners and devotions, homeschooling, and just making sure they know that they are much loved as our God ordained priority in this life. We understand that it is difficult for our children to grow up understanding what a good, loving, and caring Father God looks like if we, as parents, have not made the same full time investment of love in them that God makes in us.
I recall the years when Lori drove the kids to various Christian activities and surrounded them with other Christian friends. Pool parties Monday afternoons with the cousins, ballet and sports Monday – Friday, AWANA on Thursday evenings, bed times stories, songs and prayers. She would often perform these duties sick as a dog with my help in the evenings, knowing that she had to get the big rocks of our priorities into our bowl of life.
There came a point when I realized that there was no way I could continue to travel 40 percent of the year and get our rocks in the bowl with a sick wife, so I canceled out half my work load and began to spend much more time at home helping with this important process of “training a child in the way they should go.” What I thought might be a year quickly turned into ten years. Ten years of life I will always thank the Lord for, because it wasn’t just best for my family, but for me. Yes, the dollars in my 401K could be far larger today if I had pressed on by piling the sand into my bowl, but God used our circumstances to wake me up to focus on my wife and children.
Our story is not fully written yet, but my wife and children have made me one very blessed man. My father-in-law and I often talk about how blessed we are to have the families that we have in Christ Jesus. It certainly was not all because of us and our efforts, but rather God seems to do a great job of filing in our gaps and weaknesses.
If you are a working mom and believe that you must work, we get it. We are not saying that every working mom has to come home in order to have wonderful children who grow into successful young adults with great families of their own. But we are asking you to think about what is most important to you by looking back from the edge of the end of your life to ask the question, “What was left undone?” Have I placed the big rocks of raising the next generation of godly children into my bowl first before adding the gravel of work and the sand of comforts and pleasures? Or is my bowl of life out of balance where I cannot see that my children are going to be strong in the Lord all of their lives because they watched mom and dad make a full-time commitment to loving and training them that will keep the remnant of the family of God alive and well for one more generation?
Please, do not believe we are judging anyone by our zeal for this important subject. You are only free to make the best choice for your family if you know what the choices are, and why it is important that we focus on both protecting our children from the world and advancing our children forward into the things of God. May the Lord bless each of you, working moms and SAHMs, for we know it is not easy to swim against the tide, but this is what we are called to do for our Lord and Savior. There is great joy and reward in serving a risen Lord no matter what He is calling us to do. Just ask Him what you should do and if it means far less time at work, trust that God never asks us to do something where He does not also give us the way and the means to achieve His will for our lives. “What God asks, He pays for.”
“Trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” Have you taught your children this or is it a rock that is still yet to be placed in the bowl?
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.