Monday, November 8, 2010

The Pressure to Succeed

So He went back to Nazareth with them, and lived obediently with them. His mother held these things dearly, deep within herself. And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people. Luke 2:52 (The Message)

After Joseph and Mary found the 12 year old Jesus in the temple, Luke records what has become a key verse for us in the Family Matters Devotional series. In fact, this is the only impression we get of Jesus at an age when He could have gone to summer camp.

Theologians have wondered for centuries about Jesus’ awareness of his destiny. At what age did He understand that He was going to become the sin offering for all humankind? Did He know this when He was 12? If so, can you imagine the pressure He felt to succeed? The salvation of the entire human race rested on His shoulders and His willingness to say, “no” to sin every time. Now that is pressure to succeed!

Our children are growing up in a “success” oriented culture today. Pressure to perform in school, athletics and in social circles leads many kids toward frustration and even despair – the feeling that they just can’t measure up no matter how hard they try.

Let’s focus on two words that Eugene Peterson puts into the text in our key verse.

1. Growing up in both body and spirit– Jesus didn’t start His earthly ministry until He was 30 years old. Our kids feel the pressure to perform like seasoned adults by the time they hit Junior High! Even though Jesus would be declared a legal adult male soon after the temple story, He still had plenty of growing up to do.

This past weekend Claire played a difficult soccer game. Her team, the Awesome Blossoms, had to play the dreaded Bumblebees again – the most fearsome, competitive, and successful team in her league. The Bumblebees play so well that it makes other girls wonder why they are playing at all. Why not just quit? For Claire, it was key to redefine success, not as winning, but as growth. Did they pass the ball better than before? Did they play more aggressive defense to defend their goal? At the end of the game, the Blossoms realized they had grown as a team. And that is Awesome.

2. Blessed by both God and people – Where does the strength come from for a child to keep growing toward maturity? Many believe it comes from a child’s understanding that he or she is blessed. This doesn’t mean blessed with stuff (toys, PlayStation games, etc.). In scripture, blessed means loved, accepted, approved and valuable. Every time you affirm these things to your child, he or she is empowered with confidence to keep growing and trying. Success, then, becomes the quality of a person who is not afraid to press on into whatever destiny God has in mind.

Track back to the original post from T Bar M Camps here.

1 comment:

James Stecker said...

Dudley, good words my friend and challenging as i think about raising our 3. Thanks for the post and the reflection on this passage.