Monday, June 6, 2011

A Faithful Family

I have been pondering the message we are to take away from the account of this observant Jewish family when their son, twelve-year-old Jesus, attempted to enter manhood prematurely.

His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously." And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:48-52

I think it is important that we see that it was the mother of Jesus that reprimanded him, in solidarity with Jesus' father. Does Jesus' submission to her will not indicate that a young man is still to submit to the teaching of his mother? I can find no reference to Jesus indicating that women had no authority to teach men. I think it's also important to realize that Jesus' parents were submitting to the authority of their spiritual community, to which Jesus returned with his mother and father.

Even though Jesus was obviously a learned young man, we don't see him in a leadership role until he is in his thirties. Did Jesus spent the intervening years in scholarly study, along with his submission to the leadership of his parents? In faithful families, is this the model that is to be followed? Are our future leaders to submit to the authority of their spiritual parents while they are amassing the knowledge and wisdom that will, one day, become the authority to lead?

Are we, as parents, taking our roles as spiritual leaders seriously enough? Do we go after our children with a united front when they seek to join the ranks of the leaders before they are ready? Do we teach them by our examples how to live the lives that our faith demands of us? Or, do we tire of the rigors of our responsibility and leave them to the wiles of those who would allow them to prematurely carry an adult load?

How do we know when they are ready to be let go?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this thoughtful post, Yvette.

    I do think that it is good for children to be submitted to their parents long after they feel qualified to lead. Of course Jesus was an exceptional case. But I do believe that he was studying and preparing between that age and the age at which he began to call disciples and start teaching them. It is only in the last 10 to 12 years that I have heard some scholars begin to say openly that they believe Jesus was a Teaching Rabbi in the Synagogue before he called his disciples.

    I know that in my own personal experience I felt a compunction to go to Africa at 16 years of age but did not make a public announcement about that. Besides the fact that Mother would never have allowed it - I was not prepared for it. Why does God "call" at such an early age then? So that we can training towards that goal.

    Not only parents - but also the church (at least in my case) had to give it's approval for me to go. Why? Because is is an affirmation of our call to have our peers consider whether we are ready to fill the role to which we are applying.