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  • Eric Rutherford

Begin with the End in Mind

We have lived in Murfreesboro, Tennessee for almost seven years. In that time, we have seen an incredible population growth, and it is not going to stop in the near future. Houses are being built all over the area, however, it is not random.

At some point in the past, the city planners mapped out and then built roads strategically (or at least fairly strategic), allowing for housing subdivisions and commercial space to be built in the future. They anticipated the population growth and then planned accordingly so that when it happened, the roads and services were in place. They began with the end in mind.

Not all cities do this as they look ahead. I have lived in places and driven through areas where it seemed like streets, houses, and businesses were thrown up pell mell, almost as if an abstract artist started designing city and county streets.

When you begin with the end in mind, you know where you want to go, and then you can reverse engineer the steps so you know how to get there.

For example, if you have a blueprint for a house, you can determine the necessary materials to build it and know how everything needs to be built. You plan the work and work the plan. I would guess that the idea of blueprints and planning for houses and city layouts makes sense to most of you. In fact, I have a hunch that planning of this type is assumed and obvious to you, and to wing it in either case would be absurd.

If it makes such perfect sense with construction, why are we so often haphazard with our families and children?

Now, you might be thinking, "Wait a minute, Eric, do you know how much time and effort we have put into our children's schooling and activities? Do you want me to blurt out the amount of money we have spent trying to help them?"

I am not against these things--within reason--but that is not what I mean.

Some of you also might tell me how you have taught morality to your children, insisting on honesty and trying to do "good" things and be a good neighbor.

I am not against morality, but that is not what I mean either.

My question is this: what end goal do we want for our children spiritually? Do we even have an end goal?

Granted, we cannot provide salvation for our children--only Christ saves. However, how we model and elevate Jesus in our own lives and in our family will have a significant impact on our children.

Three questions to ask yourself:

  1. How am I discipling my children?

  2. How am I pointing my children to Jesus?

  3. How am I modeling the way to follow Jesus to my children?

By evaluating ourselves periodically, we can make adjustments to ensure we are moving toward the end goal, which is to raise children who understand who Jesus is and to provide a home environment that models the love and grace of Christ.

If you have never thought about these questions, now is a great time to start.

Look at how many conversations in the last week you have had with your children that centered on spiritual matters. Evaluate how often you speak with them about Jesus and what the Lord has given us through the Bible.

If you don't know where to start, I would encourage you check out ways to pray with your children here or how to teach the Bible to your children here.

Remember, our goal is to be farther along in our relationship with Jesus next year than we are today, and farther along five years from now than we will be next year.

Legacies are made a day at a time, so start now.

P.S. You can find additional ways to equip and disciple your children in my book, Leading Well at Home: How Husbands and Fathers Can Biblically Lead Their Families. Buy it in our store at

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