One of the great principles of parenting, not to mention one of the great principles of discipleship, is found in Mark chapter 3. Growing up as a Christian in the Navigators, I couldn’t miss this one.
Mark is relating the story of how Jesus called the 12. Now Luke gives us the additional detail that the Lord prayed all night before making His choice. But tit for tat, Mark tells us something that Luke leaves out. Mark tells us that Jesus chose the 12, first, that they might be “with Him”, and second, that He might send them out to preach and cast out demons.
But before they got to preaching, that first principle was to come into play: Jesus wanted the disciples to be “with Him.”
Now what did that mean?
Well, I think the Lord was operating from the grand old principle that more would be caught than taught. And therefore He was intentional about seeing that His disciples would “catch” a lot from Him. He chose them that they might be…with Him. They would be with Him as He healed the leper, as he fed the 5,000 and the 4,000. They would be with Him as He rebuked the religious leaders and told the parables. And they would be with him as He got up in the morning and went to sleep at night and prayed throughout the day.
They would simply be with Him.
And so the principle is to “be with” those we are trying to influence, and the idea is simple to pass on to parents: we strive to be with our kids. I know, I know, there comes a day when they don’t want anything to do with you, but before that day, when you are heading out to the hardware store, or the grocery store, you grab one of them for the ride. When you are working on a household chore, you get one of them to help, even if their “help” is not so helpful. It’s always easiest to make the decision to do it on your own – I made that decision many times when the kids were younger – but I’m thankful for the times that I chose to do it the way Jesus did – He chose the 12 that they might be with Him.
For tomorrow, April 16: Mark 4