Do I worship my children instead of God?

1 Samuel 2:29 - "Why are you a scorning my sacrifice and my offering that I commanded for my dwelling place? You have honored your sons more than you have me by having made yourselves fat from the best parts of all the offerings of my people Israel" (ESV).

Cianan and I were waiting for our to-go order at a local McDonald's when we saw it happen. A child was threatening, hitting, demanding and chasing his grandmother around the restaurant because she had ordered him nuggets instead of a cheeseburger. I had seen it before, but I hadn't heard my favorite label for it until a few years back. This grandmother was experiencing the effects of a "child-centered" home.  An environment where the every whim of the child is catered to, or everything and everyone suffers his wrath.

As I began reading through 1 Samuel this week I was reintroduced to Eli and his sons and this verse stood out as a Biblical example of a child-centered home (1 Sam. 3:13 confirms the type of home they had). God correctly explained to Eli that in his child-centered home he had been worshipping his children instead of worshipping Him. The happiness and contentment of his sons was worth more to Eli than honoring God! Eventually God would remove Eli and his sons for their irreverence during the same memorable battle that would see the Ark of the Covenant fall into Philistine hands. Instead of training his sons to be holy he inadvertently trained them to chase momentary, selfish pleasures as he stood idly by.

Without meaning to, I can be guilty of the same thing as Eli. I need to be reminded that my task as a father is to teach my children about our Holy God, and do my best to train them strive for their holiness, not attempt to guarantee their happiness (which is impossible anyway)! I need to start that training with the example of my own life. As much as I love my children I need to make sure that I communicate and demonstrate to them that my first love is God; He is the one I worship and He is the one I honor.

Jeremy Dehut

(Originally posted 4/23/10)