Labor In Vain
Could I be spinning my wheels in parenting, child rearing, and the choices I make that take up my family’s time?
“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” Psalm 127:1
While this passage in scripture is talking about a physical structure- a house, a city.....two passages later (vs 3-5) it talks about children being a blessing to man- a heritage. Children being like arrows in the hands of warriors. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. As a parent I stand watch over my children. I am a guard over their life. It is believed that Solomon wrote this passage and he of all people, in his wisdom, knew about building structures (The Temple) and guarding them. The advice is not to remove the duty of the laborer or the watchman, but rather the heart and meaning behind the duty. According to much study, it is common for this passage to be a reference to an actual household, as the word “house” often referred to a family household in the Old Testament.
Now, back to the top passage, vs1.
What does this passage mean by vain? Vain. This is an adjective which means 'not achieving the desired outcome', 'futile', 'unsuccessful', 'lacking substance or worth', 'hollow' and 'fruitless‘..
How might my labor in my home be done in vain? I can reflect on what I build inside my home, and instill in my children.... what might be done in vain? There’s a worldview and a biblical worldview.
It’s vain if Jesus Christ, is not the cornerstone. The foundation of all that is taught, all that is important, all that we draw truth from, and all that gives value to my child’s life... it is to run through the filter of Jesus Christ.
Here are some things we might labor in vain over as parents. Certainly, the list below is not entirely sinful, unless we value the items on list more than we value God in the heart.
•My child being accurately social (popular).
•My child being up to the current educational standard.
•My child accomplishing what his/her peers accomplish.
•My child getting honor roll every time.
•My child getting perfect attendance.
•My child making the best travel team.
•My child having a beautiful appearance.
•My child getting into a Big 10 college.
•My child doing life chronologically the way “I” as a parent plan (school, degree, marriage, etc).
•My child scoring a certain score on an ACT.
•My child has happiness all the time.
•My child isn’t bored (always doing something).
•My child isn’t like the others, but is superior.
•My child doesn’t need my time, but needs my income.
•My child is a good person.
•My child does no wrong.
•My child is good and doesn’t need to be saved.
•My child does not have perfect parents.
Here are some TRUTHS to combat that:
•My child is considered a blessing and reward.
•My child was knit in the womb by God.
•My child is known by God and valued just as is.
•My child’s plans for life may look different than what I planned for their life.
•My child is sinful and needs a Savior.
•My child is not a distraction from an awesome life I once had.
•My child needs a shepherd and a doer, not just a sayer as a parent.
•My child’s value is looked at by the inward appearance (the heart) not the outward.
•My child’s personality is known and loved by God and that’s what matters.
•My child is loved by God far more than I could ever love them.
•The same God that laid the foundation of the earth, laid my child’s life plan out...
•My child has purpose beyond the achievements this world offers and they need to be reminded it’s a God designed purpose.
•My child will have hard times in life.
•My child needs to know how to seek The Word for answers on life.
•My child is special in His sight.
•My child has a perfect Heavenly Father.
Unless I pass the baton to The Lord, and do things His way, my labor/work as mother is vain. It’s pointless. Just like the guards who watched over the city gates in the Bible verse above, it’s pointless for me to mother at all, unless I allow God to direct my path.