Thursday, July 2, 2009

Temporary Empty Nest Lessons #2

Moment # 2: GSM Ireland Team Send Off

Tuesday morning proved to be a wonderful time of prayer together as about 70 people gathered to see our Grace Student Ministry Lead Team head off to Ireland to work alongside a missionary couple our church partners with. It was very cool to watch these teens prepare for this experience as they were very open and sensitive to the leading of God's Spirit. It was also very interesting for me to watch the many parents who for the very first time were releasing their children into this overseas opportunity.

As I watched the parents say their good-byes with tears flowing, I could not help but think about how I would be feeling if it were my son/daughter heading off on this adventure for God. Here are a few of the thoughts that went through my head for better or worse...

I was really impressed with the spiritual maturity of these teens. Doug (Director of Student Ministries at Grace) asked them what it was they wanted the group gathered to pray for. Their answers showed a level of spiritual maturity that I don't always see in adults and it was wonderful to see how God was growing them and would grow them through this trip.

As I listened to their answers, I could not help but think about the stewardship issue involved in all of this. Those teens heading off on their own were definitely connected to an earthly family, but in reality they are God's gift to those parents. All children are a gift to parents that is to be handled with great care because of how precious it is. There is nothing quite as powerful as looking at your child and recognizing the responsibility you have to love and train them in the ways of God. As I looked around the room at those parents I thought "Well done good and faithful stewards... I commend you for releasing your child (this gift of God) into the world to do the work of Jesus."

Shortly after the good-byes were done, I headed back to my office where I began to contemplate the day when I would release my kids (Lord willing) into an adventure for God to accomplish His good purposes for them in this world. My willingness to do something like that is a stewardship issue and even though it breaks my heart to think about the day my kids won't be running around the house daily, I get excited to think about how God will one day use them for His glory. To release the gift of our children back into the world to accomplish God's mission is worth an empty nest and I believe a stewardship issue.

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