Luke 1: 76, from Zechariah’s Song, “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him.”
Don’t you know Zechariah was proud the day his son, John, was born? He and Elizabeth probably spent hours staring at the bundle of joy envisioning his life. God had such plans for their John! He would be a man of honor walking before the King of kings! He was to be a man robed in glory, preparing the way for the Savior of the world. As Elizabeth pulled John to her breast to nurse, I can imagine her thoughts for this little boy. She may have seen him living with riches in fine clothing, mingling among important people; yet, their vision for John and God’s were quite different.
What visions do you have for your children? What do you imagine their life to be like? Maybe he/she will be President of the United States? Maybe a sports star? Maybe a concert pianist? Who knows, right?
Luke 1:80, “And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.” From the Dead Sea Scrolls, we have learned as well that John grew up in the desert. The events of John’s life were probably not the way Elizabeth imagined them. She certainly didn’t imagine him growing up in a desert! Perhaps one reason John grew up simply was to avoid being tortured or killed by Herod. Whatever the reason, he grew up apart from his father, Zechariah. Finally, he died a criminal’s death. The daughter of Herod requested the head of John the Baptist as a gift when John was only 30 years old.
We all have dreams for our children but very few include a sacrificial life such as John’s. Sometimes the plans we have for our children are not the plans God has for them. We want good things, safe things, financially stable things, prosperous things for our kids; yet, God may need to use them in a different way. Perhaps you, like me, find that a tough pill to swallow.
What Mary and Elizabeth knew, many of us must realize. Their boys were the property of God, given to them for a season that they could care for and raise these boys until such time as God used them to fulfill His purpose. That is how Mary could stand at the Cross as her son was tortured. That is how Elizabeth could interrupt proper family order and raise John in the desert. Their sacrifice and love for the boys God entrusted to them is the example we must follow in raising our children.
Consider today the lives of children around you. Whether you are their parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, relative, or Sunday school teacher, how are you helping raise them? All of us are responsible for the children of God. Find ways that you can be a role model for the children He has entrusted to your care. Choose to be a steward of each child you are given the opportunity to influence.