It doesn’t matter what a child can do if he won’t.

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LIttle Feet in Big Shoes

Naturally we mamas burst a button or two when our children learn to do something new. We are excited when our child can jump or tie a shoe or count to 100 or read a chapter book or make a cake or change the oil in a car.

As our children grow up, they add more and more “can do’s” to their list of accomplishments.

As Jesus grew, He also added more and more “can do’s” to his list of accomplishments. However, as Jesus grew, He grew in more ways than simply what He could do.

. . . Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature,
and in favor with God and men.
Luke 2:52

I was struck recently with what was to me a powerful truth.

It doesn’t matter what a child can do if he won’t.

This reminds me of a parable Jesus told to some chief priests and elders of the Jewish people in the temple:

“But what do you think?
A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said,
‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’
And he answered, ‘I will not’;
but afterward he regretted it and went.
The man came to the second and said the same thing;
and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go.
Which of the two did the will of his father?”
Matthew 21:28-31

The chief priests and elders of the Jewish people were smart “can do” kinds of folks. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were at the head of their class in school. They certainly knew what to answer Jesus. “The first,” they replied.

Jesus knew them better than they knew themselves. He knew that though they knew what to say, they didn’t follow through and actually do what God wanted them to do.

Therefore Jesus told them that the tax collectors and prostitutes would get into the kingdom of God before them. He told them that they had not believed John the Baptist, but the tax collectors and prostitutes had believed him. Then, He told them that (unlike the first son in the parable) they did not feel remorse afterward and believe John.

Yep, it doesn’t matter what a child (or adult) can do, if he won’t.

That’s why the wise mama (and father) provides discipline for her child.

It is for discipline that you endure;
God deals with you as with sons;
for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
Hebrews 12:7

She (and he) also trains her child’s heart, soul, and mind . . .

. . . and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
Mark 12:30

. . . because . . .

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Matthew 7:21

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