Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jesus on the Tenuous Satisfaction of Parenting

27 ¶And it came to pass, as he [Jesus] spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.
28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. (Luke 11:27-28)

What is going on here?  Why is this woman praising the womb that bore Jesus and the breasts that suckled Him? 

I think this must have been her way of saying, “If you are so wonderful, your mother must have been amazing, and she must be one of the happiest of women to see how you turned out.”

Jesus briefly acknowledges that yes, His mother is blessed, but He seems to want to emphasize the blessed state of those that hear and obey God’s words.

I was thinking about this and I realized that Jesus knew that not all mothers would have the blessedness of seeing their children be good.  Some would ache over disobedient children.  Some women wouldn’t get to have children at all.  The blessedness of having good children is unstable because after all the teaching and nurturing, it is dependent upon a child’s agency. 

On the other hand, blessedness that comes from one’s own good choices and one’s own agency is more in one’s own control.

Jesus wasn’t denying the satisfaction from raising children who make good choices, but He wanted mothers (and fathers) to remember their own good choices could bring them happiness and they had control over that.

I hope I can remember that when I have children.