Most parents live for the day when they see their sons and daughters moving into their adulthood, strong and secure in their abilities. This is "graduation" season for many parents and students. Students will receive their "promotion" in the form of a diploma, many well-wishes, and a few parties to celebrate. Parents will endure the mixed emotions of the significance of the moment, coupled with their desires to see their children succeed in every pursuit. We have big dreams for them - some will be realized and others will blossom way beyond our imagining.
"And you, Solomon my son, get to know well your father's God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind, for God examines every heart and sees through every motive. If you seek him, he'll make sure you find him, but if you abandon him, he'll leave you for good. Look sharp now! God has chosen you to build his holy house. Be brave, determined! And do it!" (I Chronicles 28:9-10 The Message)
David was this kind of father - he wanted much for his children (and for the nation he ruled). As he is about to hand-off the "baton" to his son, he gives some pretty awesome instruction. I think this advice is often re-spoken by parents as we see these "milestones" in our children's lives. Nothing is more honoring to a parent than to see this advice grasped, lived out, and carried onto the next generation.
In seeking to advise his son, he focuses Solomon on the most important aspect of success - getting to know the God of his father. This speaks volumes to me as a parent, because nothing burned in my heart more as I was raising my children than the desire to see them grow up strong in their own relationship with the God I trust and love so much. The starting point for "success" in life is first in establishing this connection. Most successful business leaders will tell you their "business" took a turn when the right "connections" were made. The same principle is true in our everyday lives. When the right connection is made, the path is paved for our success.
The further instruction he gives - serve him with a whole heart and eager mind. David is not content to just "suggest" to his son a "Sunday-go-to-meeting" kind of relationship with his God. In fact, he has modeled much more to Solomon over the years and now he desires for Solomon to model this same "depth" of relationship. Heart and mind, engaged in seeking God and serving him well. It is a parent's delight to see a young person become strong in their own faith - meeting challenges beyond their years with the wisdom of their loving and caring God.
In "sending out" children during this season of "promotion", parents have invested 18+ years into modeling behaviors, teaching through life lessons, providing times of learning for their children. The "promotion" day is nothing more than a moment in time, defining the move from being a child under the watchful care of a parent into the season of being an adult, complete with the responsibilities and freedoms to make the choices which will affect the rest of their lives. A scary time for all! David's words probably echo in the thoughts of many parents right now - "Look sharp! Be brave! Be determined! Do it!"
I know Solomon was commissioned to build the house of God and to lead the nation of Israel after his father's reign ended. Our kids may not be called to build the physical walls of a church - but they are called to build a church by their very activity within and without the four walls of their local church! They may not lead a nation, but they will lead someone! The four things David tells Solomon probably would translate this way in today's times:
- Look Sharp! Don't let anyone see you as less than who you are - a child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
- Be Brave! Many things will look overwhelming, but you can do all things when Christ is the Master of your life. No fear! Fear will paralyze you - focus will invigorate you.
- Be Determined! You will stumble a few times - get up! Try again! No one can keep you down!
- Do It! Run well! Don't listen to the nay-sayers! Put one foot in front of the other and just run!
You've made an impact in the lives of your kids - now it is their turn to make an impact on their world! It is indeed "promotion" season - for your children AND for you! Your own life takes on a new purpose - you move from being the authority in their lives to being the coach for a lifetime! You have trained well - now coach well! Stand back - allow a few missteps. In assuming their roles in adulthood, they will stumble - but...scripture is certain about this one fact: If you have trained them up in the way they should go, they will get there!