Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Something from ... Luther re: the vocation of parents and good works

It seems we don't exalt the vocation of parents highly enough.  We are impressed with what people accomplish at their jobs, with what accolades they achieve, and with what they accumulate.  We invest a great deal of time, money, and effort in schooling to make the most of our careers.  All of this is fine to a point.  But the greatest impact a man or woman can make in this world is to get married, have children, and raise them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  All other accomplishments, accolades, and accumulations will be lost as time goes by.  But children are the one gift God grants that you, by his grace, will see in eternity.

If you want your children in eternity with you, then you must bring them to Christ now, and regularly.  If you set the example that Christ and his Church are essential, they will likely remain faithful to that their whole life long.  If Christ and his Church are optional, they will likely find an option that is more entertaining.

Being a parent provides daily, abundant opportunities for good works.  Parents get to care for their children for their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.  It also enables parents to get a glimpse of God's grace.  For, parents often feel that their service is a thankless task.  They serve for the good of their children and they do find joy in it because they love their children.  But parents also will remember when they were being raised and how little they thought of their parents labors on their behalf.  Now that these people are doing the same for their children, they finally appreciate the sacrificial love that goes into it, seldom with their children acknowledge or appreciating their labors.  God, of course, does this and more for us daily.

If your goal is to get a good job, you can probably attain that.  If you are seeking to do good works, God presents them to you in your own home.  And the benefits of those good works has an eternal impact as well.  The vocation of a parent is a high and holy calling, and it should be upheld as that. 

From Luther:  “Thus it is true, as men say, that parents could attain salvation by training their own children, even if they were to do nothing else.  If parents do this by rightly training them to God’s service, they will indeed have their hands full of good works.  For what are the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the alien if not the souls of your own children?  With these God makes a hospital of your own house.  He sets you over them as the hospital superintendent to wait on them, to give them the food and drink of good words and works.  [He sets you over them] that they may learn to trust God, to believe in him, to fear him, and to set their whole hope upon him; to honor his name and never curse or swear; to mortify themselves by praying, fasting, watching, working; to go to church, wait on the word of God, and observe the sabbath.  [He sets you over them] that they may learn to despise temporal things, to bear misfortune without complaint, and neither fear death nor love this life.” 

-- Treatise on Good Works, Luther's Works: American Edition, p 85

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