Jam, Children and Holiness

I made jam this week. There was not a lot that could go wrong in the process: chopped strawberries, sugar, lemon juice; microwave until done. Don’t burn the sugar. Don’t let it boil over and sugar-crete your microwave. Wear heat mitts and stir slowly. Have a chilled plate ready to test the gelling. And you’ve sterilized the jars, right?

OK, maybe jam-making has a few things that can go wrong. But compared to the bigger tasks of family life, it’s a snap: from the start, kids are utterly dependent on the grown-ups in their life. There are so many things that can go wrong, and it lasts for… well, ever. Even as an adult, I think about how I treat my brothers and my own parents – there’s still plenty that can go wrong.

Raising kids is a responsibility many of us take on gladly. But sometimes we don’t want to take on much responsibility for ourselves.

14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no-one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no-one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Hebrews reminds us that peace and holiness take effort – they aren’t natural and don’t come by accident. On the other hand, missing the grace of God is an accident we need to avoid, and there are weeds of bitterness that need our attention.

Are you taking responsibility for how you are growing up? Are you helping others to do the same? Isn’t it great that we have God’s grace whenever we need it!

Alan Wood