While the Bible seems to abound with examples of how not to parent, God does intersperse some positive examples in there as well. Quick – off the top of your head, who comes to mind as a great candidate for parent of the year?
In Old Testament times, the prime example of motherhood that comes to mind was Moses’ mother Jochebed. She shines in the face of great adversity, making the best of a bad situation for her infant son.
The Egyptian Pharaohs feared a rebellion by their Israelite slaves so they ordered all the male children to be killed at birth. Jochebed defied the Pharaoh and hid her newborn son for three months. When it became obvious to her she couldn’t hide him any longer, she devised a plan to at least ensure his life – she made him a waterproof basket and set him on a miraculous journey, praying for his safety.
Even as Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses, God made a way for Jochebed to continue to raise him during his formative years. She made good use of that time, singing and praying over her little boy, teaching him the stories of his heritage and his God. When he grew older, it was the lessons at his mother’s knee that moved his heart, not the luxuries of Pharaoh’s palace.
Jumping forward into the New Testament, the Apostle Paul has high praise for Lois and Eunice, the mother and grandmother of young Timothy. Though not much is said of them, the few words we do see speak of their godly influence on Timothy. (3 Timothy 1:5 and 3:15-16)
Though his father was a Greek (Acts 16:1), the two women made sure the young boy was well versed in Jewish traditions, teaching him from the time he was an infant. Their teaching provided a good foundation for his salvation later when he heard Paul preach. Because of his deep faith, he became a great help to Paul who thought of him as a beloved son.
Okay, I’m sure the first example of good parenting everyone thought of was Mary and Joseph, the earthly parents of Jesus. What an awesome responsibility they had – trying to raise the Son of God here on earth. Each year at Christmas, I ponder the words to a song written from Joseph’s perspective as the surrogate father of Christ. “How can a man be father to the Son of God? He laments over the fact that he’s just a carpenter, trying to raise a King.
And what about Mary? She was just an ordinary Jewish girl, yet God hand picked her and trusted her with His own son. WOW! I’m sure they made their share of parenting mistakes, yet in the back of Mary;s mind she knew Who He was which affected her every parenting decision.
So, what do you think? Are there any other examples of good parenting you can think of from the scriptures? When you need help as a parent, who is your Bible role model? I’d love to hear from you.