Parenting is no easy job. When you’re not busy telling the kids what they need to do, you’re busy trying to keep track of them. Joseph and Mary even had this problem — and their son was perfect. When Jesus turned 12, Joseph and Mary brought Him on their annual trip to Jerusalem, where they celebrated the Passover. But one day into their journey home, they noticed that Jesus wasn’t with them. (It’s easy for us to take Christ’s presence for granted, too.) They asked the friends and relatives who had made the trip with them if they had seen Jesus, but no one knew where He was. The worried parents had to return to Jerusalem to find Him.

After three days, Joseph and Mary were surprised to find Jesus in the temple. He was having a conversation with a group of doctors. When Mary told her son all the trouble they had taken to find Him, He answered, “How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) He wasn’t being rebellious. He just made it clear that He wanted to put God first. Joseph and Mary didn’t understand this at the time, but they respected their son’s desire to please God. They decided to submit what they wanted for Him to His own desire to serve His Heavenly Father. Many years later, Mary would see the rewards of this choice as her son raised (honored) her (John 19:25–26).

Your children will owe much of their character as adults to your training. You can teach them to put God first, you can teach them to put you first, or you can teach them to put themselves first — each with a different outcome. We know from history that Joseph and Mary made the best choice. What are you teaching your kids? When you raise them to put God first, someday they will come back to raise you.

Be the soul support of your children. — Unknown Author

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder