Colossians 3:1-3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 
Part of the reading for a Sunday [8/4] a couple of weeks ago was the reading above. Now, this verse continues with dealing with some sins that are a very big part of society in all of its history, but that is not what I want to talk about today. Setting your mind on things above got me thinking about my own current life circumstances. I personally find myself in the throws of parenthood of young children whom I love dearly. Yet as any parent of young children will tell you your sanity can get tested on a regular basis when trying to be the best parent that you can be.
A few weeks ago I was in a conversation with someone and they were just asking me questions about life and so I naturally talked about my children. I talked about the challenges of always being needed for something when I was at home, the volume in my house at all times, the crying at dinner time, and many other things that can make you want to pull your hair out. I am guessing that these things change over time yet the hair pulling out doesn’t go away; it is just about a different subject matter. That reality is at least what I have been told. I also remember back to years that I would guess my parents wanted to pull their hair out over stupid things that I did, SORRY! After talking about my kids and some of the challenges the response was in a sarcastic tone, “Wow you make having kids sound so great.” I responded with100% truthfulness and sincerity, “I love them and would not trade them for anything or imagine my life without them.” “That’s what everyone says but I’m not convinced,” was the response. This brief conversation got me thinking.
First, I want to say being a good parent is hard and can be very difficult. This should not be a shocker to anyone who is or has been a parent. [Full disclosure I just had to stop writing and get the money out of my youngest child’s mouth so that child did not eat it.] Second most, not all, but most parents would not trade in being a parent for a different life. Why is that the case? The only reason people are parents cannot be simply because of the activity of how children come about although that may be the case for many first time parents because if you have a third of a brain in 2019 you can take measures to prevent having children while having sex even apart from abortion, but that is a conversation for another day. For the Christian or non-Christian, I believe there is a sense of having one’s mindset on things above when one becomes and is a parent. The whole reality of sin is to make oneself the center of all things. Sin is to disregard God as the most important in one’s life. Sin also is to not put others before yourself and it is here where even the nonbeliever gets a taste of putting one’s mind on things above. It doesn’t mean they are saved. It doesn’t mean they are pleasing God with their actions, but even the unbelieving world has the natural ordering of things ingrained into it and one can see glimpses of that reality in day to day life. That order is under attack but it is still present.
As a Christian parent having your mindset on things above is vital in raising your children. First off one’s faith in a risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, changes the focus of your parenting. My hope and daily prayer is that my children continue in the faith that was given to them in their baptism. I don’t really care if my children are all-conference athletes or valedictorians. Do I want them to succeed? Yes, I want them to do well but if those are the focus of parenting I have lost perceptive and my focus has become on earthly things. Again parenting is hard and it is a lot of work, so why would anyone want to do it? Because the work is worth doing!
I was asked why would you want to be a parent, and as I thought to myself about the question, I had a question that I wish I would have asked back and that was why do you want a job? People complain about work all the time yet if you asked someone if you don’t like your job why do you want one so bad, they will respond with well it still provides for me things that I need. Humans are designed to work and when they don’t many problems come with that which are too numerous to talk about in this brief piece yet that which we were designed to do actually has become cursed due to sin and that which we want is also a burden. In the same way, the scriptures talk about childbirth in the same way and though I don’t think the text indicates this, it is clear that the challenges of children don’t stop with the childbirth. Yet just like a job that provides money and purpose and a sense of accomplishment being a parent is a higher calling than simply keeping a bag of cells alive to perpetuate the human race. Being a parent is a higher calling than we oftentimes think and when done in the context of faith in Christ it is a calling that must have its mind on things that are above. Why would I want children? Because those are a blessing from God and even though that blessing can feel like a burden at times it remains a blessing.
If today your blessing feels more like a burden be reminded to keep your mind on things above and the raising of our children in the faith is the most heavenly-minded thing we can undertake as parents.
Below is a good perspective on this issue in an area where we can agree with our Roman friends.