Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
I still have the picture, though I normally do not cling to things that make me sad. It was drawn by someone who was a child in our church youth group. Our church has always had a ton of kids, and they most always bring a smile to my face. But this time…
The picture was hand-drawn by a budding little artist. It is of her family, and she gave it to one of our youth leaders at the end of a lesson. She was in it, all of her siblings were in it, and one of her parents was in it. But the other parent had been drawn – and then heavily exed out with a black crayon, and the words “No one” had been written overtop of that figure.
That “No one” was the parent that was no longer there for her. That “No one” was the parent who chose sin over righteousness and pleasure over responsibility.
Being a parent is not an easy job; we say that often, and it is true. But being a child is not an easy job either. Every new thing brings the potential for uncertainty and anxiety. Every new school year brings fears of the unknown mingled with hope of what may be. Every trial brings the ominous foreboding that one may be going through something that no one else, ever, has been through or understands.
And that is why God gave children the gift of a mom and a dad.
Proverbs 1:8 says, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.”
An all-powerful God who spoke this universe into existence could also have simply spoken each and every child into existence. He also could have had them grow on trees for the picking or had them float from the sky and touch the ground off and running. But instead he made every child the product of a union between man and woman, father and mother.
And if we think for so much as a moment that he will allow us the pleasure of procreation and yet absolve us of the responsibility of parenting, we have another thing coming.
I was raised by a single mother, and as such am in a position to say with some authority that, while a single parent can certainly do a good job raising a child, the best possible scenario for a child is to be raised by both a godly mother and a godly father who will put the child’s needs above their own.
None of this is said to discourage or in any way denigrate any single parents. As I said, my own mother raised me alone. If you are a single parent raising a child or children, I commend you for your dedication, and want to encourage you with this one thought: with God’s help you can do it, and you can do it well.
But for those who have born children and yet have not fully taken upon themselves the mantle of responsibility for raising those children, I have some things to say to you as well.
Your wants, your “needs,” your desires, are infinitely less important than the needs of that child. If you do not act like it, you are selfish and ought to be ashamed of yourself.
You may live in a society that will never “judge” you for living footloose and fancy-free while your child languishes, but you will one day face a God who will hold you accountable for everything.
Your sinful pleasures are only temporary, and they do not even begin to compare to the pure, unadulterated joy of raising a child to adulthood and having that child’s heart knit to yours until death.
Your years will quickly pass, and people who have lived for self instead of others generally find themselves in their senior years with only self and no others.
I will soon put that picture back in the folder in which I store it. But it will not be the last time I take it out and muse over it, I am certain. It may not do anyone else any good, but it always reminds me not to be that No one.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org