The Gift of Parenting

The Gift of Parenting

Bryan Jones |

In the Parable of Talents, Jesus teaches us how to steward our resources. In this message, we examine a few principles for caring for one of our greatest treasures: our children.

Jesus at the Center of Our Story
The Gift of Parenting • Message 6
Bryan Jones
May 12, 2024 • Mother’s Day

A. Introduction

This morning, we celebrate Mother’s Day. If you’re a mother or a grandmother, would you stand? That includes those of you who are foster, adoptive and stepmothers. We’re so grateful for your impact on the children in your lives.

I realize today, for some of you, this is a hard subject because you long to be a parent and you have struggled with infertility, or those of you who didn’t have a loving mother, or those of you whose kids are older and you have regrets by how you’ve parented...

First, for those of you who didn’t or can't have children… let me say two things.

1. We grieve that unmet desire with you. We see you.
2. Your life isn’t defined by your marital status or your children; you are defined by your Savior.

I want to tell you a story to start today about 3 different moms.

One mother had 5 children; why she had 5 children, I will never understand. From the moment they were born, she committed them to the Lord. She was far from perfect, but every night after the kids went to sleep, she and her husband would pray and beg God for their kids to love and follow Jesus. More than health, success, or even happiness, she prayed that their souls would come to know the greatest love of all, the love of their heavenly Father. As her kids grew up, some didn’t want to go to church, and honestly, it was an argument; she wondered if it was right to require them to come to church, but she made it a priority. As the years rolled by, God answered the prayers of this mother and father, and every one of their kids followed Jesus. Some of their kids even grew to have a faith that was greater than theirs. The Lord led most of their kids to different parts of the world, which saddened this mother, but she took great delight their hearts were on fire for Jesus. God had answered her biggest prayer.

There was another mother who wanted several kids, but when she had twins, she thought there was no way we could have any more kids, so instead of asking her husband and consulting his opinions, she scheduled a doctor’s appointment to have him medically fixed because they had just met their deductible (totally hypothetical... this never happened to me). As these two kids grew of one had an incredible gift for school and the other for sports. While their schedules were full of travel sports and academics, they always found time to talk to their kids about faith. The children grew up with a love for church. This mother even made serving together in the church a priority with the family. One got a scholarship to the school they had always dreamed up, while the other took a little time to figure out what was next. Life has its ups and downs, but both are very successful in their careers and fast forward, they have kids of their own. This mother is watching as her two children are now taking their kids to church and talking about faith. Her heart is full.

There was another mother who had one child. She was very protective and fearful for her one child. She was referred to as a helicopter parent, to which she just said it's actually surveillance with love. She put so much pressure on her child to get the right grades so they could get into the right college, get the right job, so they could get the right house, and meet the right person. They would go off and on to church, and the mother loved Jesus, but He wasn’t the center of their story; He was a part. Her child went to youth camp and came back, and something was stirring; he thought about going into ministry, but this didn’t really resonate with this mom; this was not the path she thought best. Her son went to school and got the perfect job. On the outside, his life is perfect, but somewhere along the way, he becomes a prodigal son. Over time, his heart grows colder and colder towards the things of God. But deep down, what matters most is that the child is successful and, by the world's standards, has it all, so she is happy.

Now you might notice this story… it’s the general idea of the parable of the talents.

The talents in this story represent our resources, our finances, and our lives… This Mother’s Day, I want to speak about one of our greatest resources: our kids… I want to speak about parenting…

I heard someone say once that one of the only unique things in our lives is our kids. Someone else will one day live in our homes, or work our jobs, or drive our cars, but only your kids will ever call you mom and dad.

So, looking at this parable, I want to draw out a couple of principles of parenting that will help you steward what is your greatest treasure.

For those of you who feel like it's too late because your kids are older…, it doesn’t matter how old your kids are. You will always be mom and dad….


B. Your kids are God’s gift to you, not your gift to God.
(Matthew 25:14-16, 24-25)


“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.”

Matthew 25:14-15 (NLT)


Notice one of the most important phrases in the passage: entrusted his money… The number one stewardship principle, no matter if it’s your kids or money… starts with this understanding that it’s all His.

Where it says five bags of silver- this is the Greek word talanton, which is a sum of money…

The principle is this: everything you have is from God, including your kids… if you don’t start here, you won’t fully entrust your kids or your money to God.


“The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more.”

Matthew 25:16 (NLT)


Notice that the servant who understood everything was from God, invested and worked…

He felt the responsibility for the gift he was given.

Notice what the third servant does…


“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

Matthew 25:24-25 (NLT)


Notice the first servant had a joy and freedom with the money and resources, and the other had a fear.

I notice that some parents have a joy and freedom with their parenting… while others seem to have a fear… Why? It’s all in your approach to parenting…

If you think:

Kids are God’s gift to you = freedom

Kids are your gift to God = (control) (it’s all on you) fear

You must understand that as much as you love your kids, God loves them more. The best thing you can do is help to introduce them to the greatest gift of all: Jesus. But it takes work and intentionality.

They are His. You are just to love them, encourage them and raise them in the ways of Jesus. And sometimes it’s hard… The other night, I was praying for my daughter Selah before bedtime, and I prayed that she would come to know Jesus. It was a beautiful moment… Fast forward, later that night, she came into our room, not once, not twice, not three times, but four times… and I told her that if she comes into our room one more time, I’m going to send her to meet Jesus!!

But parent from a place of freedom and take responsibility to help grow their faith. Be intentional about doing little things like prayers at dinners and bedtime prayers, or if they are older, go to coffee or dinner and talk to them about faith. Sometimes, it will be great and other times, they will just stare at you… but the investment matters…


C. Be a good parent, not a perfect parent.
(Matthew 25:23a)

Alright, moment of truth… how many of you in this room are like me? You are a recovering perfectionist?

I heard a mom say none of my kids are perfect, but we can blame my husband for that!


“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’”

Matthew 25:23 (NLT)


First, the master in this story represents God, and the servant is us. But notice what God says to the servant…

Well done, my good and faithful servant… notice He doesn’t say well done, good and perfect servant… because nobody can be perfect…

And here's what I find so rich: God gave 5 talents and 2 talents, and we think that God must love or be prouder of one… but here’s what I find so rich: He says the same thing…  

I want to say something that might be the most freeing thing in your parenting or really in your life...

Have a theology of good, not perfect...

One of the most freeing things in my life was when I decided I wasn’t going to be a perfect pastor… I was going to be a good pastor… I'm not going to be a perfect parent—I'm going to be a good parent…

And every once in a while, someone reminds me I'm not a perfect pastor, and I'm okay with it.

Remember, when God created the world, He didn’t say it's perfect… He said what?

Now, let me be clear: God is perfect. Everything about Him is perfect. So why doesn’t He say it’s perfect? You pray about it, but you know I believe He doesn’t say the world is perfect because I’m in it… and because you are in it…

Let me make this really clear theologically for you….:

If you are in Jesus:

You are positionally perfect in Him, but we are practically imperfect in certain areas…

The point is this: God doesn’t look at your mistakes; He sees Jesus paid it all… and nothing can take that away… but no one is perfect in all their actions. We all make mistakes…




Sometimes, our desire for perfection is really more about ourselves than others or Jesus. Stop trying to be a perfect mom, a perfect spouse, a perfect leader, or a perfect Christian. Just be a really good one…

Because perfect is exhausting… sit in that… anybody exhausted… (don’t rush this moment)

Let's be honest… all we can really do as parents is to try our best and then set aside enough money for therapy. J


 D. It’s all about the heart.
(Matthew 25:23b)


How’s your heart?

  • Fearful. Tristan Captain America—I can’t protect him, but I can show him the One who can and will always look out for him…
  • Divided. Is the number one thing you want for your kid is for them to know Jesus? Two churches ago, I talked to some key parents in our church, and every one of them went on a college visit with their kids, and not one did a church visit. It’s so easy to get focused on grades, health, success, happiness that we miss what’s most important because our hearts are divided.
  • Exhausted. If you are trying to be a perfect parent, and if you’re operating like your kids are all yours, you are going to burn out. Now, please hear me say, I understand. Naturally, parenting is hard. And listen, if you’re married and a mom with two kids, then you have two kids and a full-grown man to raise. I get it…
  • Free. Trust your kids to God. Listen, we all will give account for our parenting and our lives…

Jesus at the Center - This is the solution.

The final servant didn’t put Jesus at the center of His life, and the Bible is clear; there is a real place it's referred to in this text as weeping and gnashing of teeth, or hell…

The stakes aren’t just your kids. It’s your soul.

You don’t avoid hell by being perfect; you avoid it by giving your life to the One who is…

And there is nothing I love more than seeing and celebrating people putting Jesus at the center…


“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’”

Matthew 25:23 (NLT)


Moms, we celebrate you and your desire to parent with Jesus at the center… and dads, too. Celebrate mom today. Put the dishes up… clean up after yourselves…

Let's celebrate together. The most important thing to celebrate is your child's heart and soul… and every investment makes a difference, even if you don’t see it… I believe if you keep being faithful, there will be a day for celebration…

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