During these challenging times, it is so easy to get distracted by what is right in front of us, to focus on the demands of this world. Yet, some day, we will be in heaven, talking about our short time on this earth and how we were able to be a part of bringing HIs love, His light, His beaut and love to our world through our days of worshipping Him.
Little ones have a window of time when they listen with their hearts to everything we teach them, to the ways we live a life focussed on what really matters. How are you taking time to pass on these values that were on the heart of Jesus, to use every one to tell His story to those who long for purpose and love, Let's see what was on the heart of Jesus with His disciples.
Inspiration is such an important piece of a mom's job, isn't it? I recorded a podcast about this topic which you can find here: The Gift of Inspiration.
The well-traveled road was bathed in late afternoon sunlight at the end of a warm day. There were small groups of merchants returning from Jericho, families nearing the end of their journey back home after a trip to Jerusalem, and market vendors transporting their wares. Small carts packed to bursting with crates of cooing doves, barrels of fragrant olive oil, and caskets of salted fish took up much of the roadway, forcing the huddled groups of pedestrians to move aside to make room.
Jesus had always loved the cool, windblown summit of Olivet, where a cluster of twisted, old olive trees provided an oasis of shade in a comfortable, tangled garden. So many times they had lounged together there, fresh breezes wafting over them as they gazed down on the gleaming white buildings of Jerusalem. The secluded place provided a welcome escape from the bustle that filled almost every moment of Jesus' days, a reprieve from the crowds of people who needed so much of him, and the night sky over Olivet had provided a wide-open canopy of space where he could pray undistracted. The disciples remembered so many days and nights there, so many wonderful, from-the-heart conversations. They had learned so much from Jesus there on the mountain.
To the disciples, each bend of the familiar road seemed crowded with specific memories of time spent with their Lord. Hadn't he gone to the mountain on the morning of the day when the adulterous woman was thrown on the ground and accused before him in the temple? Maybe the Father had spoken to him in advance of what would happen. And this was the very mountain where all the people had spread out garments and leafy branches on this very road and pronounced him as the one who "came in the name of the Lord."
He had been cresting the hill on this road when he caught sight of the city and wept that it had so long rejected the Father. Here he had told them that if they had faith, they could actually move the mountain—now that was an idea! And he had described the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world while they sat together in the protective shade of the trees. And in a garden nearby, six weeks earlier, Judas had betrayed him as he was praying.
As the men and women neared the end of their journey, the conversations quieted, and their heartbeats quickened. What important message might the Master have for them today?
A small group of people had already gathered at the summit, each pair of eyes searching expectantly for one important Person. Suddenly a hush fell upon the crowd. Everyone's face seemed drawn toward the east, where a deep blue sky sparkled between the lacy olive branches. And there, at last, was the shining, laughing, familiar face of the Lord Jesus.
His radiant eyes filled with light and life as he looked out lovingly through the crowd, wel- coming familiar friends and holding up his hands to greet and bless them. His presence was as familiar as that of a friend, yet he had the command and dignity of royalty holding court.
One man yelled out, "Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" An excited murmur of interest spread among the crowd at this possibility. But Jesus rose to his fullest stature and commanded the attention of all who were present with the resounding voice of authority.
"It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by his own authority."
A buzz of conversation ran through the crowd at this response, and some exchanged doubtful glances as Jesus continued, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
At this the crowd fell silent again. Jesus barely had to raise his voice to be heard as he challenged them to "make disciples of all the nations... teaching them to observe all that I commanded you." And then he concluded with a loving reassurance: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
The words seemed to burn in the hearts of his followers as they finally began to understand the significance of their own lives. This is why they were here, what they had been born for! The Master had chosen each of them specially—fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes, children, men and women of no special background—to be the "sent" ones, the Lord's ambassadors to the whole world.
They were still trying to take it all in when a billowing cloud rolled down from the sky. With outstretched arms seeming to simultaneously embrace and bless those present in the crowd, Jesus began to rise upward toward the ethereal cloud.
Jaws dropped. Every eye turned skyward. And then, after an instant of glory, Jesus was gone. The crowd was left staring open-mouthed into the air.
Suddenly two men in white clothing were standing before them. In ,voices strong with the glory of heaven, they cried, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched him go."
How's that for an inspiring moment?!
As mothers and fathers, it is so easy to get distracted by the details of our lives. We have so much to do! We must feed our children well and take care of their health. We must oversee their education and their training to make sure they will be able to take care of themselves and live in a civilized society. We train them in righteousness so they may understand how God wants them to live. We try to relate to them in mature ways and help them learn to have healthy relationships.
Yet often, I think, we get lost in these multitudinous tasks that rule our lives, and we lose sight of the underlying purpose behind all these tasks, which is to prepare our children to go into the world and make disciples for our Lord.
Jesus promised that he would be with us. He also promised that he will come back. It is to him that we will have to give an account of how faithfully we sought to pass on his message and his commission to our children. Giving our children the gift of inspiration—helping them understand their spiritual purpose, which is to glorify God and to make him known—is one of the most crucial tasks of Christian parenting. I believe mamas are hero shapers.
What special time with your child might help you to inspire them this week? Let's be intentional at creating moments where we direct their gaze beyond the day to day routine. Maybe we'll find ourselves inspired, too!
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