Back in 2015, a Florida man was arrested for giving his teenage daughters drugs in exchange for chores.
You heard that right. If his girls would finish their chore charts, this dad would give them cocaine and weed as their reward.
That’s messed up. Even if it was the best high on the block, that dad deserved a very small cell with a very large (and angry . . . and gassy) man.
I have to imagine that for both this drug-using dad and his not-far-from-the-tree daughters, the pull was the pleasure. That high made them forget about their lows. That rush allowed an escape from the monotony of their lives.
But despite the high those girls might have experienced, I bet you cringed at that Florida father. We don’t praise dads who give their kids short-term pleasure at the cost of long-term pain.
But what if that short-term pleasure lasted a little longer? Imagine for a moment that if we scientifically engineered a batch of cocaine to keep our kids high for six straight hours, would you cook some up for your godson? Or what if the right recipe caused the euphoria to endure for 12 hours? Would you package it up as a Christmas gift for the grandkids?
I’m guessing not. Because the same principle is true. On the time line of their lives, that pleasure would still be too short and the resulting pain would still be too long.
So why am I asking you such irrelevant questions?
Because I don’t want you to do a similar thing to the ones you love.
Recently, it dawned on me that on the time line of eternity, 80 years is shorter than an addict’s two-hour high. A life filled with success and achievement and family and friends might provide decades of euphoric moments, but what would it matter if the pleasure led to eternal-long pain?
Jesus put it this way—“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Our Savior knew how to tell time and, in love, he wondered why you’d trade a century for your soul. So, if you are a parent or part of the generation that’s raising the next generation, please take Jesus’ words to heart.
Apart from Jesus, the best you can offer your kids is a short-term high.
They might score 32 on the ACT, start varsity as a sophomore, earn a full ride to a Big Ten school, make six figures, and give you the cutest grandkids; but without Jesus, their lives are like a bottomed-out meth head.
But with Jesus, the worst you can offer your kids is a short-term low.
They might struggle with reading, get cut from JV as a senior, make six figures only if the cents are included, and live in your basement; but with Jesus, those struggles are as short term as the flight to Florida before you spend months in the sun.
Think of the long-term pleasure Jesus is offering us all in the presence of God. “[God], you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).
Fathers (and all friends of the next generation), let’s not be dealers of short-term pleasures. Let’s raise up our children to know the eternal God who promises a once-and-for-all escape from the pain of this life.
He is, after all, God Most High.
Pastor Mike Novotny has served God’s people in full-time ministry since 2007 in Madison and, most recently, at The CORE in Appleton, Wisconsin. He will also serve as the new lead speaker for Time of Grace after April 2019, where he will share the good news about Jesus through television, print, and online platforms. Mike loves seeing people grasp the depth of God’s amazing grace and unstoppable mercy. His wife continues to love him (despite plenty of reasons not to), and his two daughters open his eyes to the love of God for every Christian. When not talking about Jesus or dating his wife/girls, Mike loves playing soccer, running, and reading.
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