A young Catholic priest decided to enter a monastery. He joined one particularly strict sect. The head monk told him, at his indoctrination, that they were sworn to TOTAL silence. That meant that they could not speak one word at all. However, every ten years, they would be permitted to speak two words.After 10 years of total silence, the head monk at the breakfast table indicated it was now time for him to speak his two words. The monk said, “Hard Bed!” And then he resumed his silent study and work. Another 10 years passed and the head monk again indicated it was time for him to speak at the breakfast table with his two words. The monk said, “Lousy Food!” And then he resumed his silent study and work. A third decade passed and the head monk again indicated it was time for him to speak his two words. The monk stood up and said, “I quit!” To which the head monk shook his head and said, “You might as well, all you’ve done is complain ever since you arrived here!”
The Good Book has excellent advice on every aspect of life. But sometimes I wish it was more specific when it comes those who complain. When it comes to complainers, I would have to assume children would be at the top of the list. I have often asked myself, “What would some of our greatest biblical characters have done if they had children?”
I know the biblical characters Aaron, Issac, and David had their hands full with their offspring. I was spared their indignities, but as I look for added wisdom on how to work with my own children I sometimes draw a blank. I took them to church, taught them to respect God but how do you keep them from grousing?
During the years of AD 46-to-57, it is estimated that the Apostle Paul traveled 10,282 miles. The fact that the majority of that was on foot, means Paul had a reason why he never married. How many wive’s would want to travel that far without the convenience of wheels? I can only imagine if he had been married, a conversation with his wife Pauline would have gone something like this…..
Pauline: Paul Dear, Are you going to stop and ask for directions or are we going to take the long way to Troas again?”
Paul: “At least we don’t have to travel by whale like Jonah did dear.” Then I imagine the children grumbling how hot it was and the constant griping of, “When are we going to get there? Paul never married, my exegetical understanding has to be because he never wanted kids. Don’t believe me? How effective would his ministry have been if he had two teenagers, a boy and a girl? Every trip he made would sound something like this, “Hey Dad, can we go to that new restaurant in the valley called, “Get Agrippa?” “Do we have time?” Yeah, I would love a tall glass of Root Beer-Sheba right about now.”
Later I see the daughter whining, “Do we have to go to go back to church there again? You were thrown out with Uncle Silas last time. All my friends on FaithBook are still talking about it.” Yeah adds the brother, “I hate these trips, the last two times we went to Antioch, you got stoned.” “Remember Dad when you had to be let down in a basket over the wall in Jerusalem? Do you even have any friends?”
As I recount this fictional story on ancient parenting, I now know why Paul wrote to the Philippians these words, “I have learned that whatever state I am in, I will be content.” I have to believe it was because he had no kids. And no kids means no complaints.