Pastor John, here’s a common question we hear on Bible reading, and it comes from a mom who asks, “Pastor John, I am a busy mom with three kids at home. How am I supposed to find time to read the Bible alone?”
Here is the way I want to approach this. If you are a wife in this situation, not a single mom—that is another challenge. I will mention that in a minute, maybe—but a wife who has a husband living with her, would you turn this podcast off and go get your husband? Because I am going to ask him to take responsibility for this question. You do have some responsibility. Yes, yes, you do. And maybe I will say a word about that in a just a minute, but God’s idea for marriage and parenting is to parents. That is his ideal. And one of the reasons for this is so that one can co ver for the other and make sure that both are connecting with God through Jesus in the Word every day.
Ok, good. So is he there? Is he there? I am talking to the husband. Hello, husband. Your wife wants to know how she is supposed to find time to read the Bible alone when these kids are needing her attention all the time. So here is how I think you, Mr. Husband, can help her.
Number one, set a tone of discipline and order in the home so that children are not running wild, but are submissive and obedient and self controlled. Partner with her in getting these kids under control. This calls for serious close attention from the time they can bite her nipple. It is possible to show them: Don’t do that. That is not allowed here. So naps and bedtimes and meal times are ordered times around which days can be built. My impression is that way too many parents today think their children should be allowed to control the atmosphere of the house. That is a big mistake and at lots of levels, I think. So, dad, step up, partner with your wife in establishing routines and expect obedience, expect submission to her and to your authority. That is number one, the whole atmosphere of the house has to be brought under the parental order.
Number two. Dad, establish a play time with the kids every day. It will obviously change with the ages and so on, but give your whole attention to these kids every day at some point during which time she is free. For us that was right after supper for about an hour for a long... for many, many years. So from... we ate at 5:30, we are done by six. From six to seven I am playing with all the kids, managing it myself. She has done it all day. I can do it for an hour and she can do whatever she wants and if it is time to the read the Bible, there she has it.
Number three. Build retreats into your and your wife’s life so that she gets a half a day or a day every now and then. You figure out how often when you arrange for the children. You take them on Saturday morning all morning or you pay someone to do it, but she and you are getting these periodic extended retreat times where they can really kick back and deal with the living God.
Number four. Lead your wife in the Word so that her desire never wavers because of your example of pursuing treasure and sweetness in the Word with her.
Number five. Give her adult conversation about important things including things from the Scriptures so that she doesn’t lose perspective what all this kid time is for.
And, finally, pray for her, for her motivation and her discipline and her enjoyment of the Word.
And a closing word, maybe, to mom, because I said I might get back to it so here I am trying to get back to it. You may not have a husband with that kind of a heart. Well, then, you must do it yourself and God will help you. Yes, he will. No temptation or trial is going to fall on you that God won’t give you the grace to endure. So you might try reading the story of Susannah Wesley, the mother of Charles and John Wesley. She had 19 children. Nine of them died in infancy. That left 10. She promised the Lord she would spend time in prayer and the Word every day and at one point her strategy was this. She taught the older children and the younger that the younger ones were responsible to them. And when you see mom with an apron over her head at the table don’t bother her. Keep the kids quiet. That is my time with God.
So train your children with that kind of rigor. Expect obedience. Find your apron or your closet, but, dad, I am looking to you for the major support.
Thank you Pastor John. … It’s a big week for us at DG. Tomorrow we kick off our 2014 National Conference at Minneapolis Convention Center. It will be our 12th national conference and it will also be our last national conference. It’s titled: “Look at the Book: Reading the Bible for Yourself.” The fun begins Friday afternoon with seminars from Jerry Bridges, Nancy Guthrie, Ben Stuart, Jon Bloom, Jason Meyer, and others. Friday evening, you, Pastor John, will be delivering your first of five sessions, titled: “Scripture: The Kindling of Christian Hedonism.” You can watch the conference online at desiringGod.org/live. … Well a podcast listener writes in ask what to do when much of the Bible simply doesn’t make sense? We will hear from Pastor John tomorrow. I’m your host Tony Reinke, thanks for listening to the Ask Pastor John podcast.