Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. Proverbs 27:23-24
We are on day three of our look at the Ministry of Neglect - and how to avoid it. Today, we will look at knowing well the condition of our families. This area is one where we are truly dealing with a "flock" God holds us accountable to lead and love. The commands to love our wives and to rear our children in the fear and admonition of The Lord are pretty clear. Yet in the midst of everything that is going on in our lives, it is too easy to not pay attention to these precious people God gives to us.
Note the second half of this verse. Riches are not forever - nor does a crown endure to all generations. There are riches in every area of which we speak. For the family, these riches are the people themselves. These riches are the relationships we have with our spouses and with our children. My relationship with my wife grows a day shorter every day that we live. If I am not careful I will spend a lifetime with a woman I hardly know. Too many marriages wind up being two people who are strangers living in the same home. Do you know your wife? Do you love her? Are you spending time with her - leading her spiritually and loving her in concrete ways? We can get so busy with work - with school - with sports - with life itself that we realize that we've not spent time just being with, talking to, and loving our spouses.
Now consider your children. Here is where we see not only the riches of knowing and being with them, but also the part of this proverb that says how the crown will not endure. If you are a dad or mom, you have a crown in your family. You are to rear your children for Christ. As your children grow up - they want to be with you and learn from you. But remember, the crown will not endure forever. They will grow up and eventually have a mind of their own. They will quickly grow to where they have their own goals, their own spouse, their own family. The crown you have will be passed to your children. Lead and love while you can. Know the condition of their hearts. Know where they are spiritually. Know what they need. Honestly . . . just know them! There will be stressful and hard times - but learn to enjoy your children.
The Ministry of Neglect is unfortunately rampant in our society when it comes to marriage and family. The world says to us that our value and meaning is attained by success in our work. We are successful because of what we do. This leads to neglected marriages and neglected children. Over generations this can be multiplied again and again to where an entire society is damaged. The wisdom of knowing the condition of your spouse - of your marriage - and of your family is worth the time it takes to gain it. It will help us grow spiritually - and it will prevent many problems. May God give us grace to walk in true understanding of the little flock God grants to us - in our homes.