This morning I had the privilege of leading the early elementary kids at our church in worship and their sincerity and energy inspired me. Their verse for the week was Hebrews 13:16, but after reading the context, I of course couldn't stop there. Verses 15-17 say, "By him (Jesus Christ) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. 17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
The verse before their key verse had great significance for our time of worship as it encourages us to offer our praise as sacrifice to God, as we speak His name with our lips. Verse sixteen encourages us to turn that worship into action toward others, and that too is a sacrifice. And the following verse carried special bearing for me as I led the worship, but also as I walk in my role as mother throughout the week. It is not written to the leaders, but I think it was more intended for their hearing than the actual audience's. I have a serious responsibility in parenting. I have to keep watch over my children's souls. That easily gets lost in piles of laundry and dishes, stacks of schoolwork, and daily schedules. But, that is what I should be about. The remainder of the verse reminds me of the weight of that responsibility along with some advice on methodology. I have to give an account for every moment with my kids, every moment I choose to spend on the computer instead of interacting with them (yikes!), every word spoken in haste, every missed teaching opportunity, every choice in lax discipline, EVERYTHING! God doesn't expect us to be perfect. He knows better than we do how human we moms are. But, He does expect us to take our role seriously, and constantly strive to honor Him with our days.
Not with a somber attitude though! Not dragging ourselves around grieving over lost time or missed opportunities outside the home, or whatever else may bring us down. It does not profit our children to have mopey leaders watching over them. We must find His joy in this daily work. Even if at times it is sorrowful work, our future promise gives our heart a foundation of joy that drives us on.
Of course, you have to continue to read the whole chapter to really get the feel for the writer's closing chapter of this amazing book, but these few verses carry a significant message in and of themselves. This week as I watch over my children I pray that I will do it with joy offering up my life, my daily walk, as wife, mom, and follower of Jesus Christ as an offering to God continually.
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.