School is starting this week in many areas around the country. I spoke recently with a colleague whose children started school today. “Man o man, I cannot get over the idea that kids are starting school so early now compared to when I was a kid”, I said.
“That’s nothing”, he replied, and told me that on top of that, his son had to be at the school bus stop at 5:55am in order to make it to school by around 6:45, with first class beginning at 7:10am. I was stunned! I don’t remember ever starting school much before 8:30 in the morning. He went on to explain that they are out by 2pm. “AH, I see now”, I said, “we never got out much before 3:30”, so that made sense.
He continued by emphasizing that even still, his son has to wake up before 5am, and that after school by the time sports, other activities, and studying is done it’s nearly 11 at night, so “it really is tough for them”, he said.
Just for a moment I began to imagine what a challenge for parents who have to get ready for work and take their kids to school at the exact same time. Combine that with the constant pull of commitments over both Saturday and Sunday, and this leaves very little, if any, time at all to rest, rejuvenate, reflect. Both kids and parents are in a constant state of reaction.
I don’t know about you, but I see a two-fold danger to all this activity. The first one has to do with down time and the ability to rest. Anyone who may have studied American history in school might remember the story of the great dust bowl in the 1930’s. Many first time farmers were ignorant then of the importance of rotating fields. The concept was for seven fields to rotate once a year, with no crops being grown within the seventh field, allowing it a full year to rest. This was significant because with nothing growing in them, they have the ability to replenish and restore the nutrients stripped out by previous crops.
Combine the lack of field rest with the severe drought and, as we can see from history, huge dust storms became prevalent and common. With dust clouds rising several hundred feet into the air, images from that period of history show equipment and houses being almost buried by fine layers of sand, and farms totally destroyed as a result of fields losing all their top soil. There are stories that as much as families tried, they could not even prevent layers of dust from building up inside of homes.
It took years for top soil to restore and for the land to be useful again. Some areas never recovered. Had the farmers allowed their fields one year of complete rest out of every seven, much of the dust bowl of the 1930s could have been avoided.
The concept of rest is not a new one. God gave man the sabbath day as a day for rest. Both sleep and rest from activity are equally important for us as individuals as well, for our health and our ability to maintain concentration and focus, maintain a higher yield, and obtain more favorable results than we do without needed rest and down time in between.
The second danger has to do with the very real goal of the evil one to keep our children and us so busy, so stressed, so active, and so completely distracted that we or they literally don’t have time or energy to focus on God. Why? Because Satan FEARS the generation that passionately loves, worships, and serves God!
Every step we take towards allowing the lives of our children to be stolen by Satan, the more he is able to succeed at keeping them from experiencing the intimacy with God their hearts crave (knowingly or unknowingly).
We cannot afford to lose our children! There is a storm brewing on a spiritual horizon that would be far worse and more devastating than any dust bowl imaginable, where the seed planted will be scattered to the wind, and good soil within the hearts of our children will be stripped of any ability to produce good fruit.
I already see this within the “me first” generation in society today that no longer understands the difference between a privilege and a right, expects coddling and hand-outs to be the norm, and shrivels when faced with reality or difficult and challenging situations.
The challenge for us is to aggressively guard the hearts and minds of our children, and take back what Satan has stolen by helping to ensure they have time needed for rest, and presenting them with every opportunity to know God. How does this start? Set the example in front of them by seeking to know God in your own life. He has so many wonderful things in store for those who love Him!