My young kids were not listening, they were being disrespectful and they definitely were not honoring me. It was the usual talking back, fighting with each other, arguing if I asked them to do their chores, and just about every other little thing you can think of. They didn’t do anything incredibly naughty, but they just weren’t being respectful.
And I lost it.
I gave them a long lecture that I am sure they learned so much from (insert eye-roll here).
The Bible says that you are supposed to honor your mother and father, I told them, in a not-so-quiet, not-so-gentle voice. God placed me as your parent for a reason. God gives us rules to keep us safe and my job as your mom is to enforce them. You don’t have to like the rules and you don’t even have to like me, but you do have to follow the rules. It is nice to be able to have fun, but we don’t have to have fun together if you can’t follow the rules.
I marched out of their room where they were on an indefinite time out with smug satisfaction that I was justified in my righteous anger and that surely my children had learned an important life lesson. Respect and a calm house were bound to follow that incredibly moving speech.
The next morning during my Bible reading, the chapter I happened to be on was Ecclesiastes 8. The chapter starts out in verse 2 saying, “Obey the king since you vowed to God that you would. Don’t try to avoid doing your duty….” It continues on saying how powerful the king is. My smugness continues. Aren’t my husband and I essentially the kings of our home? My chest was so puffed up it could have exploded. The chapter continues in verse 14, “And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they are wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless!” And then, my breath caught, “So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.”
I immediately stood up, walked over to my kids, and apologized.
The end of this chapter says that not even the wisest person can discover everything about God. Sometimes in my striving to know more about God and to be a better Christian, I forget that there is more to life than absorbing knowledge. I need to put that knowledge into practice. And some of that practice is recognizing that God desires us to enjoy good gifts from God! The book of Ecclesiastes teaches us to seek a life that is focused on God, but also that God gives us good things.
“So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life.” Ecclesiastes 8:15
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