Eagle Devotional: Redeeming The Time
Tip-Off: If you live long enough, one eventually attends their share of funerals. Funerals can be some of the most valuable experiences in life. They cause us to evaluate to the depths of our hearts. Some of the most important lessons and perspective can be learned in this context. It is here we come face to face with our mortality and the brevity of life. Many times space is given for attendees to share openly about the deceased. You learn a lot about someone’s life in a short time. Sometimes what you learn is really encouraging, but it can also be very depressing. What were they known for? How did they spend their life and the time they were given? What was the quality of their relationships? Did they live life with a healthy perspective about God and others? It is our perspective on priorities and relationships that matters most in life. When we reach the end of life it’s often too late to redeem the time that’s been lost.
Halftime: Most are familiar with Harry Chapin’s No. 1 chart-topping song, Cats In The Cradle. The song is a masterfully written story that depicts an ongoing conversation between a father and son over the course of their lives. But the song didn’t top the charts because of Chapin’s world-class vocal talent or the powerful musicality, but because of the song’s haunting lyrics that touch the pain of regret in the hearts of so many. The song is filled with good intentions, but ultimately they realize that they spent their lives pursuing noble things at the expense of that which is most important: relationship. Abbreviated lyrics are below:
My child arrived just the other day / He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay / He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew / He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, dad”
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon / “When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when”
But we’ll get together then / You know we’ll have a good time then
My son turned ten just the other day / He said, thanks for the ball, dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw, I said, not today / I got a lot to do, he said, that’s okay
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed / It said, I’m gonna be like him, yeah
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when” / But we’ll get together then
Well, he came from college just the other day / So much like a man I just had to say
Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while? / He shook his head, and he said with a smile
What I’d really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys / See you later, can I have them please?
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when” / But we’ll get together then, dad
I’ve long since retired and my son’s moved away / I called him up just the other day
I said, I’d like to see you if you don’t mind / He said, I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kids have the flu / But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you / And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me / My boy was just like me
Fourth Quarter: Fourth quarter is known as “crunch time”. Everything we do in life counts, but the last quarter is critical. All that we’ve done up to this point needs to come together. We must learn from mistakes we’ve made, but we must resolve to take back the moments we have remaining, push past the regrets, and allow God to help us redeem the time. It will likely involve new priorities and choices. I am convinced that no parent will wish they spent more time on scrolling social media than investing in a face-to-face conversation with their son or daughter. What a vast difference between the perspective of the Cats In The Cradle-father at the time of his son’s birth and his retirement.
At The Buzzer: If you are like me, my father’s heart is filled with emotion as I consider my own parenting and my lack; my noble intentions, but how far short I fall. At this writing, one of my sons is in junior high, the other in high school. Just “yesterday” they were little boys, and now they are entering manhood. Where has the time gone? Good and noble intentions are not enough. Eventually we will have a “funeral assessment”, but we can do the hard work now to determine the outcome of that assessment. When we finally reach that time when our children talk about us and reflect on the legacy we left, what do we want it to be?
The prophet, Malachi, says in chapter 4:6 “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.” The Bible is ultimately the story of a Father and Son. Father God and Jesus are the perfect example of parent-child relationships revealed in God’s Word.
Overtime: Looking for practical opportunities to redeem the time? Consider the Power of 5 from Pastor Adam Peacocke…
5 Minutes To Spend Each Day With Your Child
Focus 5 minutes each day on your child. During this time emphasize 3 things:
Your love for them. Not everyone gives and receives love in the same way. Pay attention to the things that seem to communicate love to your child and focus there.
Your interest in them. Make sure they know that you care about what is important to them.
Your vision for their future. Let them know that you have dreams about who they will become and what they will do. Make sure they know that you think they matter and have something significant to contribute to this world.
5 Prayers To Pray Each Week With Your Child
Pray for a personal, vibrant, growing relationship with God.
Pray for a healthy, deep relationship with you as their parent.
Pray for godly influences and friendships in your child’s life.
Pray for the discovery and development your child’s unique talents and abilities.
Pray that your child would be quick to learn wisdom through important life lessons and would be able to take even the difficult things they experience and process them in a way that honors God.
5 Things To Do Every Month With Your Child
Invite them to do something special for just the two of you. Whether you call it a date or an adventure, make sure that they get some focused time with you where you do the “out of the ordinary” to show them how much they mean to you.
Invite them to work with you. This is a great opportunity to build relationship and character and to communicate important life lessons even from a young age.
Invite them to join you in doing something special for someone else. Teach them more effectively to love, care, and serve another family member, friend or neighbor, or someone in need in your community.
Invite them to join you in a prayer request during the month. Give them the opportunity to see first hand the power of prayer and trust in God.
Invite them to learn something with you during the month. The example that you set of being a lifelong learner will be a gift to your child. The joy your child gets from learning something alongside you will bring a smile to your face.
5 Conversations To Have With Your Child At Least Once/Year
What is your best family memory from the last 12 months? Why? If you could, what would you go back and change?
Is there some secret you are keeping from me out of fear that I would love you less?
Who are your two or three closest friends and what do you enjoy about each one?
If you could do or experience one thing in the next 12 months, what would it be?
Is there something that you wish you could change about your life, that I can help you with?