Whose Time is it, Anyway?
Christian Homeschooling Parents’ Priorities
While reading the Tuttle Tribe blog from Micah and Amy Tuttle, missionaries in Peru, this quote from John Wesley smacked me in the face. God has been teaching me a lot lately, from all sides (as only He can do!) about my use of time.
As Christian homeschooling parents committed to raising Godly generations by training and instruction about the Lord and His ways (Eph. 6:4), aren’t we obligated to consider whether we are using our time with our children biblically?
A study guide written by Rev. Andy Boyer examining how we utilize our time, talent and treasure to impact God’s kingdom was the catalyst behind this post.
Looking back through the lens of Haggai gives us a glimpse of Old Testament history and exhorts us to examine our attitudes concerning how we use the time we have to educate our children.
Scripture: Haggai 1:1-15.
About 538 B.C., King Cyrus of Babylon desired the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. After two years, the temple foundation had been rebuilt, but due to the opposition of neighboring peoples (fearful of their possible eventual domination by the Jews and their renowned God), the work had stalled and eventually halted altogether.
As a result of God’s house lying unfinished almost 20 years later, the prophet Haggai and his contemporary, Zechariah, began preaching about the Jewish nation’s priorities and use of its time.
Haggai’s Word from the LORD
2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say,’ the time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ ”
Through Haggai, God then addresses the Jews directly, asking in verse 3,
“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
It is obvious by the tone of this statement that God was not pleased that His people left His house, the temple of Jerusalem, unfinished, and were instead absorbed with their own personal priorities!
How we Spend our Time Indicates What is Most Important to us
How much are we like the Jews in this passage? Do we not do the same thing as the Jews did when we don’t take the time to have our own daily Bible study time and consistent devotions with our children? When we don’t teach history, science, math, etc., as part of our Sovereign God’s creative, redemptive plan?
- But my kids hate devotions; they’re boring.
- I don’t know how to make them interesting and don’t have time to figure it out.
- Isn’t that something my husband should be doing?
- My children are too many different ages and we just can’t make it work.
- We can’t get our regular subjects finished as it is – we just can’t get to it.
I have to admit to wrestling with several of these thoughts over the years. There are only so many hours in the day and if we choose to devote our time to one area, it has to be taken away from somewhere else, right?
So what are we spending our time on instead? I would venture to say that the way we spend our school time often reflects the following priorities:
- Academics – We have to squeeze in those AP classes – How else will she be able to compete and get into a decent college?
- Extracurricular – We need to get out and do something other than school – you know, for socialization – we can’t wait for our weekly field trip/park day, etc.
- Sports –Too bad we are traveling all over the county, but being on sports teams is important to his development and looks good on his record. Besides, maybe he will be able to get a scholarship!
- The transcript – She has to be part of this debate club/extracurricular program/ leadership camp/…It will look so good on her high school transcript!
Not that any of these things in themselves are bad. But are we neglecting something more important?
God’s View of “our” Priorities
5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” Haggai 1:5-6
In this passage God states that the Jews were working hard, but that they were not really getting anywhere – because their priorities were not in order according to what He had asked of them. Theirs were self-centered priorities, rather than God-centered ones.
God warned the people in verse 5 to “give careful thought to [their] ways.” He wanted them to evaluate how they were spending their time and what consequences they were experiencing as a result.
God often repeats an idea in a passage of Scripture so we know it is important. God told the Jews to “give careful thought to [their] ways” a total of four more times in this book! Shouldn’t we follow this same advice? Shouldn’t we give careful thought to what our priorities actually are and what they should be, and make adjustments accordingly?
Christian Homeschooling Parents’ Priorities
God tells us in Deuteronomy 6 that we are to teach about His precepts throughout our days. And at night. And when we are at home. And when we go out.
In other words…all the time! Everything we teach and learn should be in the context of God’s plan. Homeschooling curricula that does not support this is working against what we are commanded to teach our children. Spending the day only on the three R’s does not fulfill our obligation to the Lord. It is admirable to have high academic standards. Good, but not best, if that is all we do.
If we obey in this, in spite of our worries about not getting to everything, we can trust in what He says: that there will be a greater reward than we can anticipate. He is big enough to take care of our children. He is a God who rewards obedience.
Seek first the kingdom of heaven…
Do you struggle with this in your home? How do you teach your children about God and His ways?