This sermon is part of the sermon series "inSanity". See series.
When our eldest son was making preparations to start his freshman year of high school, I overheard him telling a classmate that he was planning to play football. I was absolutely thrilled about this. I played football myself for three years in middle school and was nowhere near as well-built as my strapping young son. He'll be a natural at this, I thought, and it will be so good for him.
I've always regretted not going on and playing football myself in high school. The guys who wore a football jersey just seemed to enjoy an esprits de corps greater than those of us who played basketball or nothing at all. They seemed more popular with the girls and more confident in general as they moved around campus. The guys on the football team brought home more than a few trophies for our high school, and a whole lot of those players went on to claim all kinds of other big prizes in life.
As I was thinking about my son's ambition, my mind raced ahead to future sunny Saturdays and our boy in pads and a shining helmet, running with his friends out onto the field to the sound of crowds roaring. So when, just a few weeks later, he started talking about maybe quitting the team because the practice schedule was tough, and the load of homework had gotten very heavy, and this new school was feeling really overwhelming, I was absolutely sure that he should not quit that team. I only wanted the best for him.
Being a good parent is a complicated thing. Proverbs 22:6 says: "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." But it is not always obvious what that training should involve. If you don't have children or grandchildren of your own, then maybe what I'm about to say will help you in your ministry ...
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