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Wrong Destination

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted March 19, 2014

RELIGION – A few years back a friend of ours who lived in Augusta moved to Lexington. Not long after that we got an invitation to her daughter’s birthday party. It was going to be at a jump castle place, something like Monkey Joes. So my wife, who is beautiful but directional challenged, asked me to find the place and plug it into her Garmin. I Googled the name of the place, found an old website and I entered the addresses into the GPS. She left for the party a little late, but an hour later she called me crying.
I asked her what the problem was and she told me that the Garmin brought her to a cow pasture with a bunch of old scary looking carnival rides. I asked her if she followed the directions, she said she did and she told me the address of where she was. She was at exactly the place I had sent her, but it was not the destination of the birthday party. So I got back on the computer and I found out the place that ran the jump house used to run a rental business for carnival rides.  I had sent her there, but she was supposed to be across town at a strip mall, not a cow pasture.
She had driven and hour with the boys, bought a gift, and was lost even though she followed the directions of where I thought she needed to be. The Garmin did its job and got her to directly where I had sent her.  The problem now was that it was almost too late! So with the new location plugged in, she raced to get to the party and got there as the party was ending! She spent a whole day of time and effort all in waste. I had set for her the wrong destination.
I can’t help but wonder how often we as parents set the wrong end goals for our kids. Think about it. We as parents set goals for our kids from birth. We are the ones who get them into programs, sports, schools, church activities, lessons, and everything else. We do all these things because we have an end goal in mind for our children.  We have a destination set in our minds for them. But the sad reality is that for many parents, they set the wrong end goal, spend tons of money and time and effort, and then sadly all too often later find that it was the wrong goal.
What are some common wrong end goals that we as parents can set for our children? The first is for our children to be smart. Many parents are driven for their children to be smart and as educated as possible. They feel that a good education will set them on the path to success. This is not a bad goal, but it should not be the ultimate goal. My generation is proof that you can be well educated and miserable.
The second wrong goal is to have well behaved children. Now I am pastor, and I don’t want my boys to act like animals. But if we make behavior modification the ultimate goal apart from Jesus, we will produce children who obey when we are around, but walk away and live how they want we are not around.  Good behavior should be a byproduct of raising a child to first know and love Jesus.
The third wrong goal is to have athletic kids. I love sports and I grew up playing as many as I could. I have my boys involved in sports as much as I can. But when your life becomes consumed with the development of your child’s athletic potential as an ultimate goal, it takes a good thing and turns it in an ultimate thing. Sports are a small part of your child’s ultimate existence on earth. The formative years should be spent on more than just athletic ability that is one injury away from being lost.
The fourth wrong goal is popular kids. These parents want their kids to be well liked and fit in. They want them in the best clothes, the right activities, their outfits looking just right. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting you child to be well liked. No one wants their child to lack friends, but the push to be well liked at all costs will lead them to compromise Scripture to fit in.

The last wrong goal is to have saved kids.  Many parents just want their kids to become a Christian, say a prayer and be baptized. They treat this as the ultimate goal for their kids. Now obviously I am not opposed to children coming to know and trust Jesus.  Praying for your child to come know Jesus is the first step of a marathon! This is not an end goal. If the child sees baptism as an end goal, they may wind up living how they want and look back and say, well I am still going to heaven!

So, I pray both my boys are well behaved, smart, athletic, popular, and saved. But these are locations on the ultimate roadmap to following Jesus as a disciple for the rest of their lives. You see the goal of a parent is to work yourself out of a job. You, through being involved in the life of your children, teach them to come to know, love, and follow Jesus. Jesus will always be there for them. You will not, the teacher will not, the coach will not, the preacher will not, but Jesus will.

So long as they follow Him, and you have made that the ultimate end goal, all these other pieces will fall into place. Being a follower of Jesus does not mean that any of the above goals is entirely wrong. It just means that making following Jesus the end keeps all of this in the right perspective. Jesus shows us this Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Pastor Howle

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