Parents, be careful the stories you tell your children.
For stories turn into dreams.
Dreams turn into goals.
Goals turn into plans.
And sometimes, plans turn into reality.
So if you want your children to be safe, tell them safe stories. Feed them average ideas. Fill their little minds with nothing more than the hope that happiness comes from fitting in and making money.
For if you tell your children crazy stories, you may just ruin them.
Ruin them for a life of quiet.
Ruin them for staying in one place.
Ruin them for fitting in.
And parents, if you really want to go off the deep end, tell your children stories of people who lost it all. Fill their heads with stories of people who say, “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Read to them of people who risked it all to bring a message of salvation to a hostile people. Tell them about radical prayers that fed orphans. Praise those who were put in concentration camps and saw family killed for being brave in their righteousness.
But parents, if you do that, those stories may become more than stories.You run the chance of ruining your children.
Ruining them for safety.
Ruining them for saying no to God.
Ruining them for making money.
And most of all, you may ruin them because their hearts may just break in two when they see a people in desperate need of a loving Savior. This heartbreak may propel them, fanned with the fuel of all those stories you told them. They may decide that while they could stay and touch hearts, what they need to do is go. To go far. To go where it is not safe. To go places that make you uncomfortable.
But parents, I want you to believe something – that this is worth it.
No matter what. If your children come back in body bags. If your children never give you grandbabies. If your children kiss you goodbye and don’t see you for another five years. If your children aren’t there to care for you in your old age. I want to argue that this is all worth it as long as your children are following after a God who is good and sovereign and holy.
For as this young man named Jim once wrote, “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” You cannot keep your life. You cannot keep your children. So what risk is it really to give it all for something eternal that can never be shaken?
So parents, if you are willing and brave – read your children biographies of missionaries. But beware the consequences. Because stories? Well, they don’t always stay just stories.