Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. Proverbs 27:23–24
Many of the proverbs were written for family farmers and ranchers. This proverb addresses a small rancher whose livelihood is staked to the health of his cattle or sheep. It is only through tireless devotion to his herd that the rancher will ensure the health of his animals and the financial survival of his family. Drought, disease, and wild animals are always on the prowl looking for unprotected beasts to assail! The rancher must keep watch to ward off the attackers.
The principle of daily diligence applies to all of life. Faithful performance in our jobs is necessary whether it be feeding animals or entering data into a computer. Daily diligence by mom and dad means being alert to dangers facing our families. Parents who are too busy, children without supervision, and television that is not monitored are modern assaults on the health of a family. Parental diligence demands that we give careful attention to "our herds," our families. Look for the signs of health and happiness. Do the children walk through the house and sing? Do they devise simple games to occupy themselves? Do they listen to and obey the voice of mom and dad? Is "I love you" frequently heard? Does bedtime mean hugs, stories, and being tucked in? These are signs of happy and contented children. When their behavior becomes disruptive, can it be quickly stilled by mom and dad’s strong presence and voice?
To be able to have this kind of influence in a home, mom and dad must be in the home. They must be active in the family. Children left to raise themselves will . . . but not very effectively. Their lack of discipline and maturity will set the tone for the family and create disorder and chaos. Only the loving presence of mom and dad can instill order and peace.
There are a lot of demands on time and resources that work against parents dedicating the time and energy required to give diligent attention to family health. Jobs, financial demands, insecurity, and exhaustion plague all of us, robbing us of energy and confidence. Every parent struggles with these assaults, but the successful parents persevere, consistently applying care and attention to their flocks.
As our children grow older, spending time with them isn’t as simple as reading a bedtime story or kicking a soccer ball in the yard. In high school, it means traveling across the state to watch them swing a bat or fly over a hurdle. Considerable time and money are involved! Is it worth it? Does this have anything to do with giving attention to our "herd?" Listen to these words from a young friend of mine: "My dad has never been to one of my games."
A high school senior shared these words with Cheryl and me as he was showing us the trophies of his baseball career. His pitching struck fear into opponents and confidence into his team. He claimed many victories and received numerous awards. As he looked at the trophy in his hands, a note of sadness came over his face, and he softly said, "My dad has never been to one of my games."
Missing four years of his son’s games was merely symptomatic of this dad’s failure to monitor the health of his family. He simply wasn’t present. His son could not bask in the glory of his baseball success because he was silently grieving that he couldn’t share it with his dad. Dad’s inattentiveness bred hurt and bitterness into the heart of his family. His herd suffered.