Focus 1 (of 4) -Parenthood is Worthwhile Copy

Focus 1 | Parenthood is Worthwhile

Parenthood is worthwhile because it puts people in the position of grace, where the full reward is in giving (not in receiving!)
Consider this ice breaker question to get started.
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
See what this Spotlight—and series— is focused on.
Tap on the words "Focus 1" in the image below to read this Spotlight's summary.
What’s the difference between parenting and babysitting?
Listen to this audio clip when you’re ready to begin today’s Spotlight.
(And welcome, by the way! It’s great that you’re here!)
Raise your hand when you see a parent.

Follow these steps to complete the exercise…

  1. Slowly scroll through the images in this gallery—as a group (if you’re in a group).
  2. Raise your hand for each image you think that you’re seeing a parent.
  3. Keep your hand down for each image you think is of a babysitter.

(Make sure you look through all the images—the answers can be found in the button below.)


Assess the exercise and discuss your thinking. 

How did it go? For images that you thought might be a babysitter, talk about what you were noticing that made you vote that way.

Let’s take it a little deeper.

The snapshot-moments in these pictures can make it hard to tell whether someone is a parent or a babysitter, but it would be different if they were movies. If you could see these interactions over the course of hours, you’d have dozens of clues as to who is a parent and who is hired to help.

The world is diverse, which means everyone will have unique expectations and assumptions about parenthood. The world is also imperfect, which means nobody has a “perfectly ideal” experience with parenthood. Today’s Spotlight is designed to help you think not only about what parenthood is meant to look like, but also to identify why God would put people in the position of parenthood.

(Hint: it has a lot to do with the qualities you see in the following verses.)

Welcome Perspective
God teaches people what generosity looks like using parenthood.
Use these two forms to think about the ways that God is a perfect parent.
All the things that humanity learns through parenthood are things God already knows and perfectly does. In fact, his “parental” actions are what define parenthood. Parenthood flows out of God—humanity can just get into that flow. (That’s one of the big differences between being God and following God.)

List some of God’s parental qualities using both of the forms below.

  • There’s one form for qualities that might typically be considered “fatherly.”
  • And there’s another for those that might typically be considered “motherly.”
  • Take a few minutes to complete each form.

(The reason for the two forms is that sometimes people have a hard time thinking about God as a mother, so having a mother-specific form is meant to help with that. The Bible repeatedly calls God “God the Father” but never says the words “God the Mother.” At the same time, there are many verses, such as Isaiah 66:13, Hosea 11:1–4, and Psalm 123:2, that clearly associate God with motherhood.)


View the aggregated results from the two forms—once you’ve completed the exercise yourself—below.

Watch this video to help appreciate and be grateful for the parenthood of God.
With all the attributes you named in the activity above (and untold goodness more) God is the ideal parent. The generous love and care parenthood helps people understand is perfectly found in his grace.

As you meditate on Psalm 103 using the video below, bask in the love of your parent-God, but also remember this: God’s parenthood isn’t just happy, beautiful images of hugs and loving memories. God’s parental love for you extended all the way to him sacrificing his first-born son, Jesus, to cover over your imperfection. He chooses you, pursues you, and does everything it takes to make sure you have all the benefits of being part of his family.

“From everlasting to everlasting, the Lord’s love is with those who fear him…”
Use this interactive presentation to find the light of parenthood.
Light makes connection happen, one being to another. God the Father has a perfect connection with Jesus, the Son. He wants and seeks that same connection with every person, using every part of life to bring you into it.

The song in the presentation below is part of a beautiful story of the way that parenthood serves to help people appreciate the connection the light brings—and it is full of hope. Even in the moments when people’s expectations of parenthood are shattered by trouble, grief, pain, and life in a broken world, God still kindly and patiently invites you into the light.

Tap the start button (or the arrow on the right) within the frame below to start navigating through the interactive presentation on the song “Light,” by Gungor.
Worship Perspective
You can trust in God the parent, as your Father and as your Mother.
Let’s go further with the parent vs. babysitter idea.

You’ve already considered the difference between the reward that a parent receives for parenting and the reward a babysitter receives for babysitting. But to put it even more plainly, it comes down to payment.

  1. A babysitter gets paid for babysitting—and a babysitter wouldn’t (and shouldn’t be expected to) babysit if they aren’t being paid.
  2. A parent is not guaranteed a reward for their parenting—and yet a parent is still expected to parent regardless.

Is this God’s way of showing humanity that the world isn’t fair? No. It’s his way of showing humanity that loving generously is its own reward.

God is teaching people to see opportunity through a lens of mercy, selflessness, and grace instead of seeing through a lens of mercenary calculation, greed, and merit.

Apply these lenses to a series of stories that Jesus told.

Jesus told three stories in chapter 15 of the book of Luke that were designed to celebrate the generous love God is teaching. They are the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin, and the parable of the lost son.

At least, that’s what they’re usually called. It might be better, especially for the purposes of today, to call them the parable of the generous shepherd, the parable of the loving coin-collector, and the parable of the almost-absurdly-mercifully-generous father.

Follow the same process for each of the stories below:

  1. Have someone in your group read the story aloud.
  2. Talk about how the story would seem foolish and backward to someone who is looking at life through the lens of mercenary calculation, greed, and merit. 
  3. Point out the ways that the story particularly pushes the listener to look through the lens of mercy, selflessness, and grace. 

Learn Perspective
God calls people to look with responsible love in love on all they have made.
Listen to this song to help allow your heart go out to somebody’s baby.

In the Serve sections of this series, you’ll be considering “extra-parental” parenting—that is, what does it look like when people take on parental roles towards one another even when they the aren’t actual parents?

This happens all the time, and it can be a good thing!
Somebody’s Baby by Jon Foreman

She yells,
“If you were homeless, sure as hell you’d be drunk,
or high, or trying to get there, or begging for junk.
When people don’t want you, they just throw you money for beer.”

Her name is November, she went by Autumn or Fall.
It was seven long years
since the Autumn when all of her nightmares grew fingers
and all of her dreams grew tears.

She’s somebody’s baby,
somebody’s baby girl.
She’s somebody’s baby,
somebody’s baby girl.
And she’s somebody’s baby still.

She yells, “Well if you’ve never gone it alone, well then go ahead.
You better throw the first stone,
you got one lonely stoner waiting to bring to her knees!”

She dreams about heaven, remembering hell
as the place that she visits and knows all too well.
Every now and again, when she’s hopeful, she brushes her teeth.

She’s somebody’s baby,
somebody’s baby girl.
She’s somebody’s baby,
somebody’s baby girl.
And she’s somebody’s baby still.

Today was her birthday, strangely enough,
when the cops found her body at the foot of the bluff.
The anonymous caller, this morning, tipped off the police.

They got her ID from the dental remains—
the same fillings intact, the same nicotine stains.
The birth and the death were both over, with no one to grieve.

She’s somebody’s baby,
somebody’s baby girl.
She’s somebody’s baby,
somebody’s baby girl.
And she’s somebody’s baby still.

Pray for somebody’s baby—today.
With all that in mind, take a few minutes for prayer. Your group may pray silently or aloud, totally up to you.

(Praying for their children is exactly something that parents do.)
Feel free to submit a prayer request by filling out the below form.
(If you choose to make your request public, you'll see it display in the Current at the end of the Spotlight along with anyone else who did the same.)

Prayer Requests

Pray through your requests—together—as a group.
After submitting your requests in the above form, take some time to share with your group whatever requests the group might have for this week.
Serve Perspective
Everybody is somebody’s baby and needs to be nurtured.
Close this Spotlight with this song about parenthood in God’s world.
Lyrics from Planting Trees by Andrew Peterson

We chose the spot,
we dug the hole,
we laid the maples in the ground
to have and hold.

As autumn falls
to winters sleep,
we pray that somehow in the spring
the roots grow deep.

And many years from now,
long after we are gone,
these trees will spread their branches out
and bless the dawn.

He took a plane
to Africa,
he gathered up, into his arms,
an orphan son.

So many years from now,
long after we are gone,
this tree will spread its branches out
and bless the dawn.

So sit down and write that letter,
sign up and join the fight,
sink in to all that matters,
step out into the light.

Let go of all that’s passing,
lift up the least of these,
lean into something lasting—
planting trees.

She rises up
as morning breaks.
She moves among these rooms alone
before we wake.

And her heart is so full
it overflows.
She waters us with love
and the children grow.

And many years from now,
long after we are gone,
these trees will spread their branches out
and bless the dawn.

These trees will spread their branches out
and bless someone.
Sing along with (or listen to) this song to close out this Spotlight.
Feel free to sing along or simply listen. Do what makes you comfortable—but do whatever helps you focus on the song's meaning best.
Farewell Perspective
Parenthood teaches you that real love comes from care, not real care from love.
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