“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8
I’ve been serving in ministry since 2006. I was a volunteer from then until 2011, working mostly with youth. Let me tell you, I learned so much about how not to be a parent by listening to and watching the kids who came through my youth group. Though each kid was different, and though each new crop had different cultures and quirks, one thing I came to a conclusion about all of them was that they didn’t need more buddies, they needed boundaries. Some of the kids I was toughest on still follow me on social media, and, from time to time, reach out and ask for advice. This came about in each of my ministries, and the one comment that broke my heart most (aside from “if my parents are like that, why would I want to follow their Jesus?) that I heard over and again was “I wish you were my dad.” Parents dropped the ball, expecting the school system or the church to handle their kids when they became unruly or unmanageable. And when I confronted parents, I heard the same thing over and again “I let them make their own choices.” The majority of kids wanted boundaries, to be told no, some face time with their parents, and to be led in a godly manner. What they got were buddies, absentees, and someone to catch at the end of the day.
I know this sounds harsh, but it needs to be said: whether you’re a parent or not, with whatever God has given you and whomever He has put in your life, you’re a Steward, not a babysitter of it. Yes, it will get hard, and people will break your heart, and kids will get rebellious, and friends will push back against hard truths, but you have to honor what the Lord has given you by caring for it. A Steward is someone who is appointed over something belonging to their Master. If God is your Master, how will He respond when He calls you in to account over those things He has appointed you over? Some will say “you don’t know my situation, it’s different with me,” and a plethora of other excuses. Don’t complain to me, take it up with the Master, who appointed and ordained you for your life and circumstances. He expects to see a return. Don’t be as the wicked, lazy servant, burying what the master gave you because you were afraid of losing it. Take risks! Risk it all for the One who gave it all for you! God made you a Steward; take on your responsibility with courage and reliance on His understanding.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’