This morning my 5-year-old said something so biblically correct and so very challenging that it hit me to the core. All day long, I’ve been thinking about it. God, is this you speaking through my baby?(That’s me and my baby when he was almost 2 and when he just turned 5… isn’t he the cutest thing ever???)
It all started with a very normal, “I love you” spoken from me to my son. Normally he’d respond back “I love you” or “I love you more” or “I love you infinity,” and then perhaps we’d go back and forth insisting that we love the other more than they love us. But that didn’t happen this morning.
Instead, he replied, “I know, but you need to love God more than you love me.”
Wow… We’ve talked to the boys about how much God loves us, and how we need to love God above everything. We’ve talked to the boys about God being “#1” and then of course since they are boys and everything’s a competition, they usually go on rating everyone else, “Mommy’s #2” sometimes “Daddy’s #2” brothers are usually #3 and #4. They don’t leave out the cat, “Shmoopy’s #5” – although sometimes she rates above a sibling. Anyway, we’ve had conversations about this, so really my youngest’s reply shouldn’t have surprised me so much. But it did…
Because even though I know he is correct, I wonder do I love God more than I love my sons? Is that really possible? What exactly does that mean? As I was dwelling on this today, 2 verses kept coming to mind:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37)
Now, I know God isn’t saying in Matthew 10:37, “Don’t love your father, mother, son and daughter.” I think the key words are “more” and “all”. If we are giving God all of our heart, through prayer, through Bible reading, through obedience, then the love for our children will naturally flow. But if our first priority is our children, then we may not have time for God. How often have I said, “I’m too tired to read the Bible” or “I’m too tired to pray” and then don’t? You know the funny thing is sometimes I’m too tired to get my boys dinner or to tuck them into bed or to wake up and get them off to school. But I do, everyday… they might have cereal for dinner, but everyday they get it, regardless of how tired I am. Why? Because I love them and I know they need to eat.
So why don’t I read the Bible everyday and pray, no matter how tired I am? If I truly loved God, wouldn’t I? Oh God, thank you for loving me, even when I haven’t loved you. Help me to love you more and more!
Have you ever been on a plane where those oxygen masks have had to come down? I haven’t. But I’ve heard the instructions on what to do if it happens. Parents are instructed to put their own mask on first before putting their child’s mask on. Why? Wouldn’t every parent’s instinct be to put their child’s mask on first? But if the parent is not breathing in the oxygen, he or she may black out before getting the mask securely on their child. After the parent gets his or her mask on, then he can take care of his child.
If Jesus is the “air we breathe” then it is important for us to put our oxygen masks on first and breathe in the word everyday, and love Jesus fully. In doing so, we will be able to love our children and take care of them. (This illustration is not mine, but one I heard somewhere before.)
In loving God first, we will ultimately be loving our children better.