Eugene Cho

monday sermon quarterback | ex 34

i don’t intend to make this a weekly habit.  not planning on sharing post sermon thoughts every week but will do so when i say something or omit something that i want to elaborate on.

yesterday, continued teaching on exodus 34 and the juxtaposition of god’s compassion and the announcement of punishment for sins for parents and their children to the third and fourth generation.  i wanted to elaborate on my thoughts that i shared about the importance of shaping ‘worldview’ of our children and how the early years are so important.

as a father of three, i know that parenting is complex.  i didn’t want parent and parents to be at quest (we’ve had about 10 babies born in the past 5-6 months) to feel like i was trivializing the tension they must feel as they make decisions about their families.  nor did i want to offend the feminists of quest (i refer to them as such with respect).

my proposal:  supporting and raising families are getting tougher.  dual incomes no longer seem to be an option but a way of life and that simply perturbs the life out of me.  in the early years of a child(ren)’s life, i believe parents ought to seriously consider one PARENT staying home to raise the child rather than daycares, babysitters, or even extended families. EDIT:  I’m not downplaying the health and viability of integrating other options but the importance of parents playing the PRIMARY role and not secondary roles to some of the options I listed earlier.  finances and income is obviously a legitimate concern but while we so easily justify taking on debt to obtain degrees and training – college, grad, seminary, etc. – i just think that parents shouldn’t feel so bad about debt in order to make the investment of the early year(s) of their children.  this is the choice that my wife and i have made.  we’re not espousing reckless  accrument of debt, but wise and prayerful investments.  there is nothing more significant that raising, nurturing, and shaping the lives of our children – so that they shape the lives of their children and add to the global community for the honor of God’s glory.

again, this is not to elevate the guilt level of parents who have chosen to continue working.  not at all. please pray, think, wrestle, and ultimately, may you FOLLOW your convictions and simultaneously, not be consumed entirely by your circumstances.

for those from our quest church community, we’ll have some of the se asia vision team sharing their stories this upcoming sunday and i’ll finally wrap up exodus on september 24.  we’ll take a break before we get into delicious leviticus.

Filed under: church, quest church

3 Responses

  1. David Park says:

    You raise some good points. I think that a response that I would like to see from churches and believers is a real, tangible commitment to community, living in community and raising our children in community. I believe that no other faith has a stronger theology or calling for that type of sacrificial communal living than what Christ gives us, and yet it is hard to see examples of that in real terms. So in terms of sacrificing and willingness to go into debt for the raising of our children, it should be a collective, communal commitment of like-Christ-minded people which should reduce debt altogether and allow us to visibly live with the statement that is counter to this individualistic, egocentric, here-and-now culture that we live in.

    Of course, I don’t have children yet, but ask me in a couple of years, I’m working on it though right now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Eugene,

    I really appreciated your thoughts on Sunday morning.

    But I’m just not so sure that having a self-sufficient family unit where one brings in income, and one watches the children, is even always desirable. In earlier times, and in other cultures, the extended family was there to help. In the absence of extended family, most of us have to turn to friends and paid care-givers. The way that American families tend to do this is with mom and the kids staying home all alone all day. They may get out from time to time, but the mom generally has no other adult interaction during most days. I’m just not sure this model of isolated family was ever how it was intended to be. Kids need strong bonds with their parents, but having others around to help (extended family, friends, paid care givers) doesn’t interfere with that process and it can teach more about community beyond the stand-alone small family unit. The family unit is part of a bigger whole, and wasn’t ever intended to operate in isolation. I think some of the cracks that have appeared in the foundation of family are due to putting a bigger burden on it than it was meant to stand up under.

  3. eugenecho says:

    anonymous

    i agree. i recant the part about ‘extended families’ needing to be involved. i also agree that other forms of ‘community’ ought to be involved. there are many varaibles but here’s one variable that MUST not change: parents must be involved. and in ways that we’re not willing to acknowledge, i see parents (not necessarily at quest but just in general) too easily taking a backseat in the role of raising our children.

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One Day’s Wages

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Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer. Seattle. 7:00pm. Desperately holding on to summer. #goldengardenpark #nofilter Happy Birthday, Minhee! I'm so grateful for you. You radiate faith, hope, and love.  No...you don't complete me. That would be silly and simply humanly impossible but you keep pointing me and our family to Christ who informs and transforms our lives, marriage, family, and ministry. Thanks for being so faithful. I love you so much. (* And what a gift to be in Korea together.)

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