Proverbs 3:1-2 begins a short, Spirit-inspired address from Solomon to "his son." It is simple, poignant, and powerful.
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments. For years of life and length of days, and peace, they will add to you.
On Sunday morning (26 April 2020), I suggested that this opening wisdom nugget substantially challenges both parents (i.e., Generation 1) and children/young people (Generation 2) to treasure the value of handing off and receiving wisdom. A full version of this teaching can be downloaded (www.ccames.org/resources/sermons).
Three important questions were sent in, taken up here.
#1 HOW DOES PROVERBS 3:1-2 RELATE TO SINGLE ADULTS?
In at least two important ways. First, if you are a son or daughter of God through faith in Jesus Christ, this is the voice of your heavenly Father to you. You have a calling to not forget the teaching which the Lord provides for you from His word, but to grow in your relationship with your Father by remembering the key lessons and endowed truth He has communicated to you. The evidence of your "not forgetting" is to "keep" (or guard) His commandments in your life as a watchman. This will be most evident in your obedience, something which Jesus affirmed. "If you love me," he said, "you will keep my commandments."
An additional word here is likely helpful. We understand that our walk with God and our growth in Christlikeness is not essentially commandment-driven. The New Testament is clear that our life in Christ is not about keeping laws, but rather seeking to become like Christ as we are led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Still, there are directives which the Spirit leads us to obey; namely, about loving God and loving others, and living out the directives found in the New Testament letters (e.g., Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, etc.). Yet we do that knowing that Christ has already fulfilled the righteous demands of God's law for us, so that our living is now directed by His Spirit.
A second way that Proverbs 3:1-2 applies to single adults in the body of Christ relates to the encouragement spiritually mature singles can give families and their children. As I will share in a BEYOND THE SERMON podcast on April 27, it "takes a village" to raise children in the things of the Lord, and families need a wider circle of helpers to shape and guide their children. Maturing-in-Christ single adults can be of tremendous help in discipling the children and young people of a church family...like ours!
#2 THIS SEEMS TO BE A TIME WHEN AGING PARENTS NEED TO LISTEN TO THEIR CHILDREN. HOW CAN WE APPROACH THIS NEW RELATIONSHIP WITHOUT ALIENATING THEM?
Haven't we all be in relationships were certain subjects are "understood" to be off limits? Sure. So is there a way to move beyond the roadblocks to initiate inter-generational sharing?
I find in the New Testament such an emphasis on approaching one another with humility, whether its older initiating with the younger, or the young hoping to connect with those who are further down the path. Sometimes, the ice can be broken by seeking to learn from the other first, asking questions and showing genuine interest in what the other thinks or understanding what has gone on in their lives in the past.
When I read of Paul needing to approach the Corinthians on a whole set of "sensitive subjects," when on another occasion he needs to appeal to Philemon about a former slave who took advantage of him...in these scenarios, Paul takes the "one down" position, and communicates both love and humility. It seems that such an approach opens up both communication lines and hearts.
#3 WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR GENERATION 1 PEOPLE WHO FEEL LIKE THEY MISSED IT WITH GENERATION 2 -- KIDS NOW GROWN AND OUT OF THE HOUSE?
Well, first...may I urge you to receive God's wonderful grace for any shortcomings you own as a parents? We are all there right with you, and God's love covers a multitude of our sins.
Perhaps the initial "window of opportunity" (i.e., when the kids were in your home) is no longer there, but a 2nd window of opportunity is yet available. It strikes me that the first question you may want to answer is, "SHOULD WE SPEAK WITH OUR KIDS ABOUT OUR MISSING IT?" and "TO WHAT PURPOSE?"
Obviously, such can be a challenging conversation to have, but it may be well worth it, especially if the objective for such a conversation is right-sized. What you are not trying to do in talking about what did-or-did-not happen in your home is now to leverage them to "get spiritual" in a hurry.
Still, I can imagine an exchange -- one that doesn't require any response from them -- that first communicates your deep, unconditional love for them, while also sharing your desire for their forgiveness for you missing the opportunity to demonstrate to them early on how wonderful a relationship with Jesus really is.
Again, you're not attempting to manipulate, but you are seeking a chance to simply share how much you love them, and that you pray for their best. I can imagine that God will honor in some important way your humble approach with them, and that their love and respect for you will likely deepen.
And, of course you know that God is gracious to forgive us, even as His Spirit still has time to answer your fervent, in-the-closet praying you do.