This week I presented a parenting workshop for an area church. The group was comprised primarily of parents of teens.
In my preparation I was again impressed with the impact and genius of the incarnation.
As parents, particularly parents of teens, we know we’re in over our heads. We’re desperate for answers. We want to believe there is a formula, some technique, that will solve our problems, relieve our fears, answer our questions and guarantee desired results.
We demand it.
This confirms our infatuation with knowledge. We assume effective living is a matter of getting the right information and mastering the right techniques. Knowing guarantees success.
I’m sure most parents attend workshops like mine hoping to find that missing piece of information that will seal the deal for them. Surely one more seminar will turn the key.
Seasoned parents discover parenting isn’t primarily about knowledge. While information can be quite helpful, information alone doesn’t equate to effectiveness.
Parenting is primarily about presence. Who we are as people, as parents, carries far greater impact than what we know.
We are the greatest asset we can offer our kids. (Unfortunately, if we don’t learn to manage ourselves well, we can be a great liability instead.)
The same is true in ministry.
Our impact on others is rooted in our presence.
We see this in the incarnation. God manifests himself not by sending information. Salvation, in its multi-layered richness, is not accomplished by formulas.
God accomplishes it through the incarnation–God becoming flesh and living among us.
He is present.
Parenting, ministry and any relationship is about incarnation. God is alive and present in us. We in turn are present with others.
Our primary and most significant impact on others isn’t in what we know. It doesn’t come by transferring information.
Our greatest impact is our presence–being present and accounted for.