Thursday – August 28, 2014; Matthew 26:6-13
6 Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,[a] 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. 8 But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? 9 For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
Would it be better for you to teach your child how to do their own laundry or to simply run a load for them every time they needed clean clothes?
Doing the wash for our kids is a quick fix, but teaching them how to do it for themselves is a skill that they can take with them throughout their lives; it will help them to learn responsibility and independence that they may not know if we kept doing everything for them.
Jesus understood this when he said “For you always have the poor with you…” because he knew that poverty, along with the ignorance and cruelty that feeds it will never completely go away; and that a quick fix of giving money is not the same as giving people the hope and support to rise above poverty on a permanent basis.
Jesus knows that his teachings, and the death and resurrection that he is to face will inspire others to not only care for the poor, but to enable them to work with the poor to ensure that one day poverty will be put behind them.
As single parents we are called to teach our children: from basic life skills like doing the laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, driving a car, etc., to things like how to show compassion for others, and how to have a faith that works for them (which may not always be the same as our faith—but that is okay).
We can teach our children directly by offering them guidance and direction when they have gone astray, or when/if they ask for our help before they act (which could actually happen); but one of the most powerful ways we teach our kids is through our actions, by being a power of example for them.
While Jesus did many miracles while he walked the Earth with us, some of his most significant teaching occurred when he showed us how to share the love of God with others…like when his words inspired the 5,000 to share what they had in order to feed each other, or when he reached out in kindness to the sick and the poor and made it the mission of the church to care for them as well.
Jesus wanted us to learn how to carry on his ministry after he was gone…because he knew that his time on Earth would be short, and that it was up to those of us who followed him to ensure that his message of God’s love would continue to be spread so that the light grace could shine into all the dark corners where fear, sorrow and injustice hide…as we are called to make Christ known in the world.
As parents we too are called to teach our children, to give them a good foundation of faith, as faith is a very important tool as we face the highs and lows of our lives. As a single father myself, I have had to take a lot on faith…faith that I was making good choices for my daughter and myself, faith that no matter what the struggle, our love for each other would not fail us…and that Christ was with us both in the Holy Spirit and through those people who were there to help us, ensuring that we would get through our worst mistakes and misunderstandings, and come out of them wiser, stronger, and healthier.
While I would love it if Christ could come before me, snap his fingers and make everything perfect, that is not the way it works…as our relationship with God is still broken, and the Kingdom of Heaven is not yet a reality here in our world (but we are making progress!); instead our lives are about learning, growing and then teaching others, so that the good news of God’s love can be spread…and this makes God’s gift of love all the more valuable, as it does not come easy, but it is free, thanks to the sacrifice of Christ!
And it is through his death and resurrection that Christ gave us the ultimate gift of teaching…a gift we are called to pass on to our children and to others: the gift of absolute faith which can save us, renew us and give us hope; reminding us that life IS good (if not always perfect) and that just as our children can never be beyond the reach of our love, we too are never without the love of God in our lives!
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for giving us the gift of Jesus, came to live with us, minister to us, and teach us how to make your love known in the world. You have called us to act as Christ to the world, help us share light of Christ in all that we do, by showing love and compassion for others. Let us teach our children to be good to each other and how to find a faith that works for them. Help us to show them how to share their faith, by our example of following you: showing love and compassion for others, and by sharing worship and praise together.