Our kids are God’s greatest gift to us and should be raised as such. They’re born into this world innocent and full of love, and should be raised to know God’s love. Too many times though, ego and pride get in the way and we put him up on a shelf. The moment we put ourselves ahead of God, raising our kids becomes a crapshoot.
Who our kids become is a result of how we conduct ourselves, along with the priorities and lessons we teach them. Unfortunately we also have to compete with friends, teachers, and coaches who may not have their best interests at heart.
For example, if you ever competed in sports as a child, there were likely one of two lessons drilled into your head by the coach. One was “the most important thing to remember is to always work hard and give your best effort”. The other? “Nobody remembers a loser, only those who finish first. Remember, second place is the first loser”.
In today’s what have you done for me lately world, the former lesson is often considered a losers mentality while the latter seems to have unfortunately become the standard. So much so, that many have a win-at-all-cost mentality which includes cheating and playing dirty. Winning championships, or at life in general, and being the best should always be the goal. However, there’s no shame in being second either if you give it your best effort.
In life I’m honored and humbled at the same time to be second. In fact, I am proud I am second to one….God. Although I knew it a long time ago, it finally sunk in last summer, when I took my kids to a Newsboys concert, that I needed to put God first in my life. It was the lyrics to their song “I am Second” that finally got through to me.
There’s a me that I don’t really like
A me that says I’m
In control ’til the day that I die
And I don’t know why
I push I pull I fight I fall
I end up crawling back to
That place where I figure it out
That I, that I, that I
I’m second to one
Redeemer, the way, the light
I’m second to one
I’m laying everything
At the foot of the cross
My pride, my life, my all
I am second to one
And he is second to none.
I wasn’t a good parent to my kids when they were younger and that is my biggest regret as a man. I truly loved them, but unfortunately my priorities fell out of line when I shoved God into the background. I should have kept God first and put my faith and focus on him instead of myself. Instead I took my endless frustrations out on my kids, and my wife, ultimately alienating them.
It wasn’t until that July evening of last year that I knew I truly needed to commit to putting God first in my life. Why? For one thing, we weren’t supposed to be there. I had other plans for that evening. Going was a spur of the moment, almost last minute decision. Secondly, I was so touched watching my son and daughter praising Jesus and truly enjoying themselves.
As much as I value the opportunity to teach my kids important life lessons, it is they who reminded me of the most important lesson of all that night. I am second to one. Gratefully this lesson is reinforced every Sunday, by Pastor’s Ken Patrick and Craig Smith, when we attend the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Wheatfield, Indiana.